Colorado wind jobs seen hinging on PTC extension

Colorado wind jobs seen hinging on PTC extension

Colorado's effort to build a domestic wind power industry, which has led to the creation of 5,000 jobs in the state, is threatened by the impending expiration of the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), according to the Denver Post.

The article quotes Tracee Bentley, associate director of the Colorado Energy Office: "The tax credit is critical. We have one of the most highly trained work forces in wind production, and we want to see those jobs stay in Colorado."  It also notes that Vestas Wind Systems, which built four factories in Colorado, has reduced its work force, previously 1,700 employees, by nearly one-third.

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who has championed the PTC relentlessly in Congress, adds "A broad bipartisan coalition supports this tax credit and has already teed it up as part of a tax bill that is awaiting action on the Senate floor."

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 today 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 119 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 Los Angeles Times, the Des Moines Register, the Denver Post, the Daily Oklahoman, 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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