Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) and 11 colleagues from both parties wrote to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging swift action on the reauthorization of a wind energy production tax credit.
"An extension of the wind production tax credit should provide for some long term stability while setting forth a path for how the wind industry can move towards a market-based system. While it is clear that the wind industry currently requires tax incentives like the production tax credit to compete, Congress needs to provide the wind industry with the stability and predictability to plan for the future," wrote the senators.
Wind energy development has increased remarkably since 2008. There are 75,000 wind energy jobs in America today and more than 400 manufacturing facilities in 43 states. Currently, 60 percent of turbine components installed in the United States are made in America, up from 25 percent in 2005.
"There are too many companies right here in Massachusetts that are already feeling the effects of an expiring wind production tax," said Sen. Kerry. "No major wind developer has made substantial plans for 2013 installation, and no major turbine manufacturer has orders for 2013 for the United States. Second Wind, for example, has already suffered delays and mass cancellations, causing them to lay off 30 percent of their workers. We simply cannot afford to lose jobs like this in an industry that is primed to help America retain its place as a global leader."
In addition to Kerry, the letter is signed by U.S. Senators Moran (R-Kan.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Scott Brown (R-Mass.), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).
The full text of the letter is below:
February 22, 2012
The Honorable Harry Reid The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Majority Leader Minority Leader
United States Senate United Stated Senate
United States Capitol United States Capitol
Washington, D.C. Washington, D.C.
Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell:
Due to our country's diverse energy needs, we write to urge you to address expiring tax provisions supporting wind energy production. The future of the American wind industry requires a stable tax environment in which to operate. If we are to expect wind energy to contribute to our country's future energy needs, Congress must quickly work to reauthorize the wind production tax credit before our wind production capabilities are damaged. We ask that you move quickly to extend the production tax credit.
The growth in installations is supported by the rise of the domestic manufacturing of the wind facilities' critical components. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), turbines, towers, and assembled nacelles are produced in over 400 manufacturing facilities that employ tens of thousands of skilled American workers. Failure to extend the production tax credit will weaken this growing manufacturing sector and destabilize an industry just before it completes its transformation to being cost competitive in the marketplace.
By extending this production tax credit, we must also be mindful of our country's current fiscal situation. An extension of the wind production tax credit should provide for some long term stability while setting forth a path for how the wind industry can move towards a market-based system. While it is clear that the wind industry currently requires tax incentives like the production tax credit to compete, Congress needs to provide the wind industry with the stability and predictability to plan for the future.
We are committed to working towards an energy policy that encompasses all forms of domestic capabilities. As our country seeks healthy industries and increasing job opportunities to aid in our economic growth, we urge you to pursue an extension of the wind production tax credit as soon as possible.