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Bipartisan letter from Colorado Congressional delegation urges: Extend the PTC

Bipartisan letter from Colorado Congressional delegation urges: Extend the PTC

Expiration of tax credit jeopardizes Colorado jobs, economy which includes 6,000 wind energy, manufacturing workers

Seven members of Colorado's Congressional delegation, from both political parties, yesterday 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 (D) and Michael Bennet (D) and Representatives Diana DeGette (D), Cory Gardner (R), Ed Perlmutter (D), Jared Polis (D), and Scott Tipton (R) delivered a letter of support for the PTC to the chairmen of the conference committee negotiating the extension of the payroll tax credit.

In the 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.

“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 delegation members 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.”

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.

The delegation letter was only the latest in a number of developments indicating that unlike many issues Congress is facing, a PTC extension has strong bipartisan support. Bipartisan legislation introduced by Representatives Dave Reichert (R, WA-08) and Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03) (H.R. 3307, the “American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act”) seeks to extend the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) and has attracted the support of 64 cosponsors, including 16 Republicans. A PTC extension also has the support of the bipartisan Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition, which includes 23 Republican and Democratic Governors from across the U.S.

Republican governors Terry Branstad of Iowa and Sam Brownback of Kansas provided some very specific support for the PTC recently, urging members of the Congressional conference committee on the payroll tax deduction legislation to include a PTC extension in the bill. The PTC has also received the endorsement of a broad coalition of more than 370 members, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Edison Electric Institute, the Western Governors’ Association, the United Steelworkers and many members of the environmental community.

The 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.

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