More than 2,000 organizations signed a letter last week calling on the US Government to extend a variety of expired and expiring tax provisions, including the vaunted PTC.
The Production Tax Credit has been integral to the growth of the US wind industry, and as the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) notes, “is a big reason” why the US wind industry is the “most productive in the world with enough wind energy produced annually for 18 million American homes.” In its annual US Wind Industry Annual Market Report for 2014,the AWEA reported on the value of the PTC, where in states like Iowa it helped wind energy attract $10 billion in cumulative investment to support 6,000 jobs.
“The PTC enabled the private sector to make critical investments in domestic manufacturing and the American workforce, driving significant cost reductions,” said AWEA Deputy Director of Industry Data and Analysis Emily Williams in April. “That has driven technology improvements and cost reductions that are creating a modern-day ‘wind rush’ by opening up new areas for development.”
“We have utility-scale turbines operating in 39 states today, and if these trends continue and stable policy is in place, we can see wind deployment in even more states,” Williams added.
Which is why so much attention has been given to imploring the US Government to ensure the stability and long-term provision of the Production Tax Credit. The AWEA has made similar calls for months now. In December of 2014, the AWEA was one of many to call on the government to extend both the Production Tax Credit and the Investment Tax Credit, which had been put on the cutting block by Republican members of Congress.
“We call on all clean energy supporters in Congress and the White House to work to pass a two-year extension of these critical tax policies,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “The three-week extension being considered by the House does not provide the certainty and stability needed to keep U.S. factories open and keep workers on the job. And if you think otherwise, try telling that to the American workers who will be laid off starting in January.”
As the AWEA explain, the PTC has enabled the American wind energy industry to provide nearly 20,000 jobs at over 500 factories across 43 US states. Another 53,000 jobs are included in the overall wind energy industry, as well as the impact the corresponding projects have on the local communities, such as boosting local economies and injecting millions of dollars of added tax revenue to surrounding communities.
Fast forward to September, and a group of over 2,000 organizations representing literally “millions of individuals, employees, businesses of all sizes, community development organizations, and non-profit organizations” signed their respective names to a letter calling on the US Senate and House of Representatives to “act immediately on a seamless, multiyear or permanent extension of the expired and expiring tax provisions” — which naturally includes the Production Tax Credit that is so vital to the US wind industry.
As the signees of the letter made clear, not only are the “tax provisions … critically important to US jobs and the broader economy,” but any “failure to extend these provisions is a tax increase” that they believe “will inject instability and uncertainty into the economy and weaken confidence in the employment marketplace.”
Sadly, the uncertainty surrounding the PTC has already taken its toll on a number of American workers and investment opportunities. Earlier in September, Dokka Fasteners announced the closing of its Michigan manufacturing plant due to the “lack of committed US renewable energy policy and gridlock of government in Washington.”
“The decision to close Dokka Fasteners in Auburn Hills, MI was difficult after just committing to build the state-of-the-art facility in 2010,” Dokka Fasteners explained in its August 28 release. “Although the plant start-up went well, the business was subject to uncertainty do to the state of the wind industry in the United States. The landscape for wind energy is volatile based on a lack of a committed US renewable energy policy, gridlock of government in Washington, and the uncertainty of the production tax credit (PTC).”