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Wind executive: PTC-related layoffs 'not happy experience'

Wind executive: PTC-related layoffs 'not happy experience'
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Laying off hundreds of workers because of Congress's delay in extending the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) has been painful, one wind company spokesman said today on a segment aired on Minnesota Public Radio.

Bill Burga, who heads manufacturing in North and South America for LM Wind Power, a company that operates a turbine blade plant in Grand Forks, N.D., and employs many Minnesotans, commented, "This is not good. This is not a happy experience for us. Not a happy experience for our people … When you take it down like this, it's like stopping and starting a freight train. It can take a long time to wind it down and a very, very long time to bring it back up."

The wind power industry is in the process of being crippled, with orders for new turbines in 2013 nosediving because of the financial uncertainty created as the PTC remains in legislative limbo.

Mr. Burga said LM plans to remain in the business notwithstanding: " … I've got companies calling me that deal in used equipment that are seizing on this opportunity. I'm quietly telling them it's not time. We have no intention of giving up any of our assets. We're going to wait for the market to crawl back and we're going to be there."

The PTC is an incentive that reduces taxes on the operators of wind farms and leaves more of the money they earn from electricity sales in private hands, helping to attract private investment not only in wind projects, but in component manufacturers, suppliers, trucking companies and more.  The PTC provides an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first 10 years of electricity production from utility-scale wind turbines. It is set to expire on Dec. 31 unless Congress extends it first. A recent study by Navigant Consulting found that extending the Production Tax Credit will allow the industry to grow to 100,000 jobs in just four years, while an expiration would kill 37,000 jobs within a year.

A House bill seeking to extend the PTC has 110 cosponsors, including 25 Republicans, while a similar Senate bill is cosponsored by seven Senators, including three Republicans.  PTC extension efforts have received the endorsement of a broad coalition of more than 370 members, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, and the Western Governors’ Association. A PTC extension also has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Governors Association, and the bipartisan Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, which includes 23 Republican and Democratic Governors from across the U.S.  A PTC extension has been endorsed by a number of newspapers across the country, including the Des Moines Register, the Denver Post, the Daily Oklahoman, the Toledo Blade, the Houston Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Chicago Sun-Times, and The New York Times.

Further endorsements of the wind energy production tax credit.

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CEO cites wind power's benefits in urging PTC extension, May 24, 2012
As expiration of PTC nears, two major Pennsylvania wind projects cancelled, May 18, 2012
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Tax payments to S.D. counties illustrate impact of wind tax credit, May 8, 2012
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Wichita Eagle editorial blog endorses PTC extension, February 28, 2012
Daily Oklahoman: PTC extension "makes sense," February 27, 2012
Bipartisan group of Illinois Representatives supports PTC extension, February 24, 2012
Kansas City Star backs PTC extension, praises Brownback, Moran, February 23, 2012
Bennet visits composites factory, urges PTC extension, February 23, 2012
Moran visits Siemens factory, pushes PTC extension, February 22, 2012
WindTV: PTC key to wind power manufacturing jobs, February 21, 2012
Topeka Capital-Journal: Extend the PTC, February 21, 2012
U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA): PTC is jobs engine conservatives should support, February 17, 2012
Bennet, Moran continue bipartisan push to extend PTC, February 16, 2012
Major U.S. consumer brands like Nike on extending the PTC: Just Do It!, February 15, 2012
Oklahoma Gov. Fallin urges conferees: Extend the PTC, February 15, 2012
Michigan worker's plea: Extend PTC, help wind power create U.S. jobs, February 13, 2012
Bipartisan letter from entire Iowa Congressional delegation urges: Extend the PTC, February 10, 2012
Senate Energy Chairman Bingaman: Act now to save clean-energy jobs, February 9, 2012
Bipartisan letter from Colorado Congressional delegation urges: Extend the PTC, February 8, 2012
Republican governors push for PTC extension; Senators express support, February 2, 2012
U.S. Chamber of Commerce joins broad range of groups endorsing PTC extension, February 1, 2012
WindTV: Wind power drives commerce in small-town America, January 24, 2012
Denver Post endorses PTC extension 'sooner rather than later', January 18, 2012
WSJ op-ed: 'Want Growth? Try Stable Tax Policy', January 5, 2012
Red State Energy, Red State Jobs, November 29, 2011

 

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