March 15, 2012

Senators Seek Two-Year Extension of Wind-Energy Tax Credit

WASHINGTON – Senators Chuck Grassley, Mark Udall, Scott Brown, Tom Harkin, Dean Heller, Ron Wyden, and Michael Bennet today proposed a two-year extension of the wind energy production tax credit scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

 The bipartisan proposal would prevent a lapse in the credit.  Without an extension, as many as 37,000 jobs nationwide could be lost.  The senators hope to have the extension passed as quickly as possible in order to provide tax certainty for the renewable energy sector.

“Tax reform efforts might modify or address this incentive in the near future, but the jobs and opportunities provided by wind energy should not be abandoned in the meantime.  And limiting the bill’s impact on the deficit can be addressed,” Grassley said.  “Tax relief has succeeded in developing this clean, renewable and innovative energy source, and it ought to be continued with the degree of certainty that encourages continued investment.  Unemployment remains high at 8.3 percent and energy costs are on the rise.  Congress should renew the wind energy tax credit to develop clean energy alternatives and good paying jobs.”

“Extending the wind energy tax credit is a move that can give Coloradans and Americans a great return on investment - a stronger economy, more local jobs and more affordable power for our homes,” Udall said.  “With employers like Vestas willing to invest in Colorado, Congress needs to act well before the deadline and give these employers certainty to plan ahead - otherwise those jobs will move to other countries.  Failing to extend the production tax credit for wind energy will threaten the industry's growth and Colorado jobs, and I'll continue to push my colleagues for a better solution where Colorado keeps our jobs.” 

“I believe in an all of the above approach to America’s energy challenges.  The extension of these tax credits will help make sure that we continue to diversify our energy supplies over the long term,” Brown said.

“Congress must extend the production tax credit for wind, which is essential for continuing the expansion of one of Iowa’s most exciting sectors and creating and preserving jobs in our state,” Harkin said.   “I am pleased to partner with Senator Grassley on this focused bill and will do everything I can to see it approved by Congress.”

“Nevada has vast potential for renewable energy development.  Not only is it a clean source of energy, but it can also create thousands of jobs in the process.   The growing energy demand in our country requires that we find innovative solutions for our nation’s energy needs.  Renewable energy development as a part of a broader energy strategy will ensure our nation has a diverse and secure energy future,” Heller said.

“Wind energy is one of the fastest growing and most promising sectors of the energy industry providing for thousands of jobs in Oregon and nationwide,” Wyden said. “The existing production tax credit has given the renewable energy industry an important tool to grow and its expiration could put the future innovation of wind resources and other forms of renewable energy at risk.  Companies on the cutting edge deserve to have some certainty in their tax treatment and extending this tax credit will help them to compete against non-renewable energy sources and continue the success we’ve seen over the last decade.”

“The wind energy tax credit has been a huge plus for Colorado.  It has helped create jobs and advance a diversified energy portfolio,” Bennet said.  “This tax credit has bipartisan support, and Colorado companies are counting on us to get it across the finish line.  Congress should act now.”

Today, the wind industry supports 75,000 American jobs and drives as much as $20 billion in private investment.  During the last five years, 35 percent of all new electric generation in the United States was wind.  This expansion has directly led to the growth in domestic wind manufacturing.  There are nearly 400 manufacturing facilities today, compared with just 30 in 2004.

Grassley authored and won enactment of the first-ever wind production tax credit in 1992.  The incentive was designed to give wind energy the ability to compete against coal-fired and nuclear energy and helped to launch the wind energy industry.

The bill introduced today is titled the American Energy and Job Promotion Act.