Congress Must Act Now On PTC

In four short months, the wind power production tax credit (PTC) will expire unless Congress steps in and renews the credit. Though the PTC has received wide support from both Republicans and Democrats, Congress likely will not make a decision until after this year’s presidential election. With little more than two months to go until the November elections, business leaders remain cautious, especially in the wind industry. This uncertainty and Congress’s inaction has led to stalled installations, delayed projects and lost jobs.

Image Source: CleanTechnica

A White House fact sheet reports up to 37,000 wind-related jobs could be cut if the PTC expires, and these job losses are happening now. This month, wind turbine manufacturer Vestas announced an additional cut of 1,400 jobs on top of the 2,335 positions eliminated earlier this year. And the largest wind farm in the country, Terra-Gen Power’s 1,020 megawatt Alta Wind farm in Tehachapi, Calif., announced it will not expand if the PTC expires.

Congress cannot afford to let the PTC expire and have history repeat itself. In 2004, the PTC expired, causing a 77 percent drop in new wind installations in the U.S. It is vital for Congress to act now to extend the tax credit, which encourages new projects, clean electricity and job creation.

As a promising first step, the U.S. Senate Finance Committee passed a one-year extension of the PTC earlier this month. Although the bill must still go through the full Senate, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Denise Bode says, “This was an extremely important step to provide critical certainty to keep people at work in wind energy manufacturing and construction.” If we can overcome this political hurdle, the wind market can finally reach maturity and support domestic clean energy production.

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