Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today called upon Congress to extend the wind production tax credit (PTC) following news that Vestas is announcing additional layoffs at its plant in Brighton. The credit, which is set to expire at the end of the year, is vital to thousands of Colorado jobs associated with wind energy development projects.
"Today's news of additional layoffs at Vestas is extremely disappointing because they could have been prevented had Congress acted to pass the wind PTC," Bennet said. "If we let the credit expire, the wind industry, as well as thousands of jobs in Colorado and tens of thousands more across the country, will take a devastating hit. The wind PTC enjoys bipartisan support and is an economic driver that is critical to jobs and a clean and diverse energy portfolio in this country. It should be extended, and it should be extended immediately."
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. In July, 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.
Colorado is a wind energy leader, currently generating the third highest percentage of power from wind of any state in the nation. Colorado is home to several major wind energy developers and wind turbine manufacturing facilities, employing upwards of 6,000 workers statewide.
Nationally, expiration of the wind production tax credit could cost as many as 37,000 jobs, according to the American Wind Energy Association.