Friday, May 4, 2012

Wind Power Layoffs Mounting While Congress Remains Gridlocked

Federal Renewable Energy Production Tax Credits are scheduled to expire December 31, 2012, unless Congress acts to extend them. Congress isn’t doing anything about moving extension measures forward. The wind energy industry needs at least 18 months of certainty about availability of the credit to make starting a new project economically viable. As a result, industry layoffs are already beginning, and by the end of 2012’s second quarter are expected to reach 10,000 jobs lost.

Passage of time makes the picture even bleaker. Without Congressional action, wind power layoffs could reach 20,000 jobs lost by the end of the third quarter and 30,000 jobs lost by year end. Navigant Consulting predicts total wind energy job losses in the next 12 months to reach 37,000 if Congress waits until the last minute to extend the tax credits.

On the other hand, if Congress were to act now, according to the American Wind Energy Association, the industry could create 100,000 new jobs in the next four years. Certainty about tax credit availability is the key. Newton, Iowa’s wind turbine blade maker TPI Composites CEO Steve Lockard says “Our company has created more than 700 new jobs in Newton, and a second wind energy company there now employs over 100 people. Our industry can do the same in hard hit towns all across the U. S. if Congress will let us, and doesn’t increase taxes on wind power next year.”

Apparently the only wind blowing through the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. is political hot air.

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