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Members of Colorado Delegation Pick Up Bipartisan Push for Extension of Wind Tax Credit

Expiration of the Tax Credit Jeopardizes Colorado Jobs, Economy which includes 6,000 Wind Energy, Manufacturing Workers

Posted: Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Seven members of the Colorado Congressional Delegation called on a congressional conference committee to extend the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) as part of the payroll tax extension. The wind PTC has helped drive substantial economic growth in Colorado.

Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet and Representatives Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter, Jared Polis, Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton delivered a letter of support of the PTC today to the chairmen of the conference committee negotiating the extension of the payroll tax credit. The letter was delivered ahead of a meeting the committee will hold today.

In a letter to Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, the bipartisan, bicameral group called for the payroll tax reduction package they are negotiating in conference to include the wind energy PTC, as well as a way to pay for the tax credit.

“The PTC has been very effective in facilitating new market penetration of wind energy and moving us toward a more diversified and cleaner energy portfolio,” the senators and members of Congress wrote in the letter. “A delay in this extension would do enormous damage to that progress. Unless the wind PTC is renewed in the first quarter of this year, new wind energy development projects and the thousands of jobs associated with those projects are predicted to drop off precipitously after 2012.”

Colorado renewable energy leaders have called for an extension of the wind PTC.

“Manufacturing jobs are critical in America’s economic recovery. The expiration of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) would have a devastating impact on Colorado, affecting not only jobs and investment at our large wind manufacturers, but the many supply chain manufacturers that serve the wind industry,” said Tim Heaton and Lee Boughey, chairs of the Colorado Energy Coalition. “To provide the certainty that wind-energy companies need to create more jobs and investment in Colorado, the Colorado Energy Coalition endorses a three- to five-year extension of the PTC.”

“As the only economic development-focused clean technology organization in Colorado, the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association (CCIA) and its 200 members, strongly encourage Congress to extend the Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC). Colorado is a good example of a state that has weathered the economic crisis reasonably well because of the jobs brought to the state by the wind technology and manufacturing industry,” said Christine Shapard, executive director of Colorado Cleantech Industry Association. “We’ve seen job growth in smaller, component providers, as well as supply chain partners to the large manufacturers, indicating the breadth of the impact this industry has on the entire state. If the United States wants to bring back its manufacturing base – in both small and large companies - the wind industry is one of the best places to start. We urge Congress to extend the PTC to enable the continued growth of this important industry.”

Colorado is a wind energy leader, currently generating the third highest percentage of power from wind of any state in the nation. Colorado is home to several major wind energy developers and wind turbine manufacturing facilities, employing upwards of 6,000 workers statewide.

Full text of the letter is included below.

Dear Chairman Baucus and Chairman Camp:

The undersigned Members of the Colorado delegation urgently request inclusion of a provision to extend the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) as your conference negotiates the payroll tax reduction package. In passing this extension, we would urge the conference committee to include a pay for as well.

The PTC has been very effective in facilitating new market penetration of wind energy and moving us toward a more diversified and cleaner energy portfolio. A delay in this extension would do enormous damage to that progress. Since its inception, the wind PTC has driven economic growth across the nation, including substantial growth in Colorado. Our state is a wind energy leader, currently generating the third highest percentage of power from wind of any state in the nation. Colorado is home to several major wind energy developers and wind turbine manufacturing facilities, employing upwards of 6,000 workers statewide. We’re also home to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a critical government lab and the world’s premier renewable energy research facility.

Unless the wind PTC is renewed in the first quarter of this year, new wind energy development projects and the thousands of jobs associated with those projects are predicted to drop off precipitously after 2012. This dire situation will be especially pronounced in Colorado, where we manufacture many of the components for wind turbines. Wind-related manufacturing workers will be the first to lose their jobs as developers stop ordering turbines for installation after the PTC ends. Companies with a footprint in Colorado have already started layoffs and several thousand Colorado jobs could be lost if the PTC isn’t extended in the near future.

While the PTC is vital to the near-term future of wind energy production in Colorado and across the nation, the credit should not exist in perpetuity, particularly as the wind industry matures. Following a prompt extension, we believe that Congress should engage in a broader conversation about an incremental phase-down of the credit over the long-term.

In a difficult economy, with thousands of high-quality jobs at stake across our state and the entire country, we urge the Conference Committee to extend the wind PTC as part of your upcoming package.

By: Tara Trujillo, 202-224-4334
 
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