Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today heard from local business leaders about the economic impact and potential layoffs due to recent cuts at Vestas. Bennet discussed with local CEOs the need to extend the wind production tax credit (PTC) during a tour of the Walker Component Group's manufacturing facility, which supplies cables for wind turbines used by Vestas Wind Systems.
"We are seeing firsthand how Congress' failure to act on an extension of the wind PTC is killing jobs right here in Colorado," Bennet said. "An extension will support this vital industry at a crucial point in its development and save thousands of jobs in Colorado and tens of thousands across the rest of the country. Congress must get its act together and extend the PTC immediately when it resumes session."
Vestas Wind Systems operates four plants in Colorado. Last week, the company announced layoffs at its Pueblo plant in the face of the expiration of the PTC at the end of the year. And today, Vestas has announced a round of layoffs at its facility in Brighton.
Walker Component Group opened this manufacturing facility specifically to supply cables to Vestas. It has already made cuts and faces more if Vestas decreases production. It is just one example of the hundreds of U.S.-based businesses that form the wind industry supply chain and will be adversely affected if Congress does not act to renew the PTC.
Bennet has led efforts in Congress to extend the wind energy PTC. He led eight of the nine members of the Colorado Congressional delegation in a bipartisan letter calling for extension of the tax credit and has introduced two bipartisan amendments with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), cosponsored by Senator Mark Udall, to extend the PTC. He has also partnered with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Udall to introduce the American Energy and Job Promotion Act, a bipartisan bill to extend the PTC for wind and several other renewable energy technologies. Earlier this month, he successfully led a bipartisan group of senators urging the Senate Finance Committee to include an extension of the PTC in a tax extenders bill the committee was considering.