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Public Statements

Wind Energy Tax Credit

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. President, I return to the floor of the Senate to urge all of us here to extend the production tax credit for wind energy. This is a crucial tax credit that supports an industry that employs literally tens of thousands of workers across our entire country. Our failure in the Congress to quickly extend this job-creating credit has already halted further development and jeopardized the future of this industry and the good-paying jobs that come with it.

The PTC, as it is known, the production tax credit, has been a major driver of wind power development because it literally leverages billions of dollars in investment, which then in turn creates thousands of jobs. But here in the Congress we have gone back and forth repeatedly between extending it and retiring it. This on-again/off-again status has contributed to a boom-bust cycle that threatens the future of this industry and our energy security in turn. It is time for us to act, act now, and extend the PTC so the wind industry and its employees can have a secure and prosperous future.

Mr. President, I look forward to talking about your State, New Mexico. You know I come to the floor every day to talk about the importance of the PTC, and I focus on an individual State when I come to the floor. Today I would like to talk about New Jersey.

New Jersey's wind industry will suffer without an extension of the PTC. Its industry is in the early stages of development, but the Garden State is already making real progress in becoming a manufacturing center for wind. While it is a manufacturing center that is building the turbines and blades, it is also taking a leading role in developing coastal wind power and then harnessing the offshore wind potential we know exists in the oceans off of New Jersey. An environmental review initiative by the Interior Department has paved the way for the sale of wind energy leases off the coast of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia in the Outer Continental Shelf. Several coastal projects are under way in the Garden State, including in South Jersey off the coast of Cape May, down here in the southern part of New Jersey. New Jersey is also home to the first coastal wind farm in the United States, the Jersey Atlantic Wind Farm. There are five turbines at that wind farm. They are producing a total of 7.5 megawatts, which is enough energy to power 2,000 homes.

Like my Home State, like the home State of the Presiding Officer, New Jersey knows we need an all-of-the-above energy strategy to improve our energy security. My colleagues from New Jersey, Senator Menendez and Senator Lautenberg, have been fighting to accelerate the transition to renewable domestic energy. Both have been champions for extending crucial tax credits such as the PTC. They know these credits help both New Jersey consumers and New Jersey businesses install and utilize energy from the wind.

The wind energy industry supports close to 500 New Jersey jobs, many of which are located at the 9 manufacturing facilities that make components for wind turbines. Those facilities are located in the green circles shown here on the map of New Jersey. The current level of wind production in New Jersey has helped the State reduce its carbon emissions by some 1,500 metric tons every year.

I want to return to the point I make every day I come to the floor to talk about the production tax credit. If we do not extend it, the manufacturing sector in New Jersey and many other States will literally wither. If we do not extend the PTC, we risk sending our energy jobs overseas. This is flatout unacceptable.

The wind production tax credit has strong support from a broad array of industry groups. Let me share some of those groups with my colleagues and with the viewers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed the extension, as well as the Governors' Wind Energy Coalition, the National Governors Association, and the American Farm Bureau Federation, among a number of other groups that support this extension.

Think of it this way: Wind energy is made-in-America energy that bolsters U.S. manufacturing. It creates good-paying American jobs, and it puts us on the path to energy independence. I urge my colleagues, I ask my colleagues of both parties to stand with me and stand for American manufacturing and made-in-America energy. Our wind energy industry and our energy security are depending on it. We need to extend the PTC as soon as possible. It is that simple. The PTC equals jobs. Let's pass it as soon as possible.

I yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.

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