Continuing his push for a deal that averts the damaging effects of the fiscal cliff, Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI) is highlighting the consequences for clean energy jobs in Rhode Island and nationwide if a balanced agreement is not reached. Speaking on the House floor today, Langevin specifically pointed out that investments in wind energy would be slashed through the expiration of the Production Tax Credit at the end of the year and potentially through the impact of automatic across the board cuts, known as sequestration, on research and development. He joined fellow members of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition to advocate that any budget deal must recognize the significant economic benefits of having a robust clean energy industry.
Langevin has strongly supported wind energy, recognizing the potential for Rhode Island to lead in this area and boost the state's economy. He has advocated for the state to be the site of the nation's first offshore wind farm and has previously worked to help renew the Production Tax Credit, which provides an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the production of electricity from utility-scale turbines.
Across the country, wind energy is one of the fastest growing drivers of new American manufacturing jobs, with the American Wind Energy Association reporting that more than 60 percent of all of the turbines installed in the U.S. are produced domestically, in large part due to the wind Production Tax Credit. Furthermore, median wage salaries are 13 percent higher in green energy careers than the economy average and the clean energy sector is growing at nearly double the rate of the overall economy.
Transcript of Langevin's Speech:
"Mr. Speaker, impending budget cuts under sequestration pose a serious risk to America's leadership in a variety of areas. The one in particular that I want to focus on today is the serious risk to America's leadership on a clean energy economy, and to developing grid-scale energy infrastructure, made possible in part by the Production Tax Credit. These investments help to ensure our nation's energy security and independence while spurring growth in a wind industry that supports over 70,000 jobs nationwide, including hundreds in Rhode Island.
"Mr. Speaker, Rhode Island receives seven percent of its state revenue from federal grants that are subject to sequestration. Unless averted by Congress, it could threaten the health of Rhode Island's local economies and risk another national recession.
"I know we have difficult choices ahead, but if there is one mandate both parties can claim from the November elections, it is to solve our nation's economic and fiscal challenges together. Although we may not agree on all aspects of a solution, we can all agree on the need to address the impending problem. The clock is ticking."