Today, Congressman Tim Walz called on Congress to renew its commitment to energy independence by enacting bipartisan legislation to extend the Production Tax Credit. Extending the tax credit would give certainty to local wind energy manufacturers who employ construction workers, technicians, welders, and numerous others in good-paying jobs across southern Minnesota and the country.
The First Congressional District currently ranks 5th in United States for installed wind capacity and Minnesota wind farms produce enough sustainable energy to power nearly 1 million homes.
"We need to take control of our energy future with an all-of-the-above approach that invests in homegrown, all-American energy right here in southern Minnesota," said Walz. "While we won't transition off of oil overnight, extending the Production Tax Credit will give businesses the certainty they need to create and maintain local jobs, while at the same time reducing our dependence on unstable countries in the Middle East. Congress should act now and extend this tax credit to help small businesses and protect local jobs."
"To save and create good Minnesota jobs we must extend the Production Tax Credit," said Katie Gulley, Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance -- a nationwide partnership of unions and environmental organizations headquartered in Minnesota. "We can't afford to let it expire. It would not just cost us good jobs, it also would diminish America's chances to compete globally against China and the rest of the world in clean, renewable energy."
Six years ago, 5,200 megawatts of the nation's power came from wind energy. Today, more than 48,000 megawatts come from wind turbines. One megawatt is enough to power 250 homes.
Rather than continuing to kick the can down the road with one or two year extensions of the Production Tax Credit, which expires at the end of 2012, Walz's bipartisan energy bill would extend the tax credit until 2020, ensuring wind energy suppliers and manufacturers have the stability they need to grow their business and create jobs, while also lowering the cost of production.
While extending the Production Tax Credit is a step in the right direction, Congress must do more to put our country on a path towards an energy independent future. With our vast resources in sustainable energy, southern Minnesota is in a unique position to lead this effort and own the next generation of all-American energy innovation and technology.
That is why last year Walz, along with broad coalition of Republicans and Democrats, introduced a comprehensive bipartisan energy bill that will create jobs, rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges, and work to end our dependence on unstable countries in the Middle East.
The vision behind Walz's bipartisan energy bill is simple: take the royalties from the expansion of responsible off-shore oil drilling and invest them back into America.