U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, praised a new U.S. Department of Energy report issued on Tuesday that highlights strong growth in the U.S. wind energy market in 2011, which supports tens of thousands of American jobs. The report also underscores the importance of continued policy support and clean energy tax credits to ensure that the manufacturing jobs associated with this booming global industry remain in the United States.
According to the 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report, the United States remained one of the world's largest and fastest-growing wind markets in 2011. Wind power has constituted a remarkable 32 percent of all new electric capacity additions in the United States last year and accounted for $14 billion in new investment. The wind sector employs 75,000 American workers, according to industry estimates.
The report can be downloaded by clicking here: http://1.usa.gov/PU0IpB (PDF)
"Investments made in clean energy production not only protect our environment, they also protect and grow our economy," Senator Coons said. "This report clearly demonstrates that the wind industry is a vital part of America's clean energy production and supports tens of thousands of jobs across the nation."
Despite these recent technical and infrastructure improvements and continued growth in 2012, the report warned of a dramatic slowing of domestic wind energy deployments in 2013 due in large part to the possible expiration of federal renewable energy tax incentives. Senator Coons is a strong advocate for the Production Tax Credit (PTC), which provides an important tax credit to wind producers in the United States and has helped drive the industry's growth, and is set to expire at the end of this year. The wind industry projects that 37,000 jobs could be lost if Congress allows the PTC to expire.
"Continued leadership in the burgeoning wind energy industry is a smart investment for our country," Senator Coons said. "Now is not the time to turn our back on the companies who have already made great progress in creating jobs and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. The market instability created by repeated partisan threats to the PTC is coming at a costly price. It is imperative that we provide certainty in the energy market and extend the Production Tax Credit before it expires."