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Public Statements

Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act--Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Madam President, I am here on the floor, as I have been for a succession of morning speeches, to talk about the importance of extending the tax credit for wind power. If you look in every corner of our great country, the production tax credit has resulted in good-paying jobs for Americans--jobs, I might add, that can't be exported overseas.

I have taken a tour of the country. This morning I wish to highlight the beautiful State of South Carolina.

South Carolina is one of the few States that do not have installed onshore wind power, but that has not stopped South Carolina from attracting literally dozens of manufacturers that support 1,000 good-paying wind energy jobs across the State.

As we look at this chart of the State of South Carolina, we can see that the green circles acknowledge the manufacturing facilities that built components for wind turbines. Nearly every component in a wind turbine is built in South Carolina.

I wish to highlight Greenville, up here in the northwestern part of South Carolina. GE has a facility there, and they have designed the 1.5-megawatt wind turbine that is a hallmark of GE. That facility supports more than a dozen suppliers and hundreds of jobs across the State.

One of the most exciting ventures outside of manufacturing that is going on in South Carolina is the massive investment that has been made in innovation. In 2009 Clemson University won a $45 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Department of Energy for the construction of a brandnew facility that will be the

largest wind turbine testing facility in the world. In that facility, they will test cutting-edge drivetrain technologies for the next generation of wind turbines.

Now, South Carolina has doubled down on that support of wind innovation. The university donors and other partners have joined Clemson and have come up with another $53 million to supplement the $45 million that came through the Recovery Act. That is $98 million that will be an investment in South Carolina's economy and in our wind energy future.

So not only will there be good-paying jobs created at this wind turbine drivetrain testing facility, but this facility will be a global leader in developing wind turbines capable of 3 to 10 times as much power as wind turbines today. I was under the impression that wind turbine technology had matured and that we had wrung out every electron possible. I have been told we can increase the yields by 3 to 10 times through this kind of research. This facility will focus on onshore and offshore wind turbines. So this is crucial research.

We know in Colorado that the presence of top-notch research and development institutions attracts incredibly talented individuals and often results in the creation of new companies that commercialize the new and innovative technologies developed in these R&D facilities. I know that in the Presiding Officer's State, that is a formula for success. When we make the investments such as South Carolina, Colorado, and New York are making, we draw top-notch resources that are able to exploit in a responsible way natural resources.

The grant I mentioned combined with the research dollars that have come from the private sector represent an enormous opportunity for South Carolina and for our country in turn. We already see millions of dollars that have been attracted into South Carolina from global investors because they see the potential of what is going to happen at Clemson.

The point I want to make is that if we don't extend the wind tax credit, the PTC, then these wind manufacturers may not have the wherewithal, frankly, to team up with Clemson, to commercialize the new technologies that will be developed in South Carolina, and then the jobs that follow won't be created. That just doesn't make sense. South Carolina and Clemson are going to be global leaders in the development of these new technologies.

The question is, Where will these new turbines be built? I know, for one, that the Chinese would be happy to step in and take away our manufacturing jobs. But if we get our act together and extend the PTC, then these wind turbines will be built here in America. They will be built in South Carolina, they will be built in Colorado, and they will be built in Pennsylvania. They will be built all over our country in literally every corner. But if we let the PTC expire, we risk shipping this industry and our good-paying jobs overseas.

Coloradans keep telling me--and I know in the Presiding Officer's home State as well--that there is no reason to outsource these jobs. There is no reason to outsource energy production, and there is no reason to handicap a growing industry that has helped make us and our country more energy independent. Let's pass the extension of the PTC today. Let's create jobs today. Let's build this clean energy economy. Let's pursue an all-of-the-above strategy. Let's do it here in the United States, and let's do it now.

Madam President, thank you for your attention and your interest.


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