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WindTV: Colorado county gets big boost from wind power

WindTV: Colorado county gets big boost from wind power

PTC uncertainty threatening industry’s ability to continue pumping dollars into rural America

A 41 percent spike in sales tax revenue. A $1 billion investment in the community. And clean, homegrown power for some 425,000 Colorado homes.

That’s what wind power is providing in Logan County, Colo., home of NextEra Energy’s Peetz Table Wind Energy Center, and the subject of the latest segment of WindTV, the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) vehicle to highlight how wind works for America. The 41 percent revenue increase came in 2007, when wind power arrived in the county, and it wasn’t just a one-year anomaly. Since then, “We have not seen any drop in sales tax revenue because of the great things that are happening in the community,” says Jim Neblett of the county’s planning commission. “It’s been a great economic boon.”

Today about 500 turbines are erected, with a total of 850 permitted. At least seven wind industry companies are operating in the county.

In addition to the $1 billion investment, Neblett explains on the video, wind industry companies “also helped other smaller communities with different things, like a town center, and a new fire station, museums, and they help out at the rodeo every year.”

Unfortunately, the wind power industry's ability to drive that sort of economic activity is under threat. The federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), wind power’s primary policy driver, is set to expire at the end of the year, and already the industry’s supply chain is feeling the effects of the uncertainty.

A recent study found that extending the PTC will allow the industry to grow to 100,000 jobs in just four years, while an expiration will kill 37,000 jobs. Wind powers as many as 6,000 Colorado jobs and 20 wind power manufacturing facilities across the state. As exemplified by Logan County, wind farms in Colorado provide a second cash crop to the state’s farmers and a vital source of support for rural communities in the form of approximately $5.4 million a year in land lease payments and more than $10 million in annual property tax payments. In another video segment, in fact, Neblett discusses the tremendous revenue boost wind power has given local farmers.

“As WindTV has shown in full-color over the last few months, the wind power economic success story of Logan County, Colo., is one that is known in communities all across America,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “But policies created in Washington, D.C. must be in sync with everyday Americans, and, at the moment, they are not. The time is now for Congress to act and extend the PTC so that the wind energy industry can help build many more strong, economically vibrant communities like Logan County.”

In the video segment, Neblett—sporting a propeller cap that celebrates Colorado wind power—is speaking from the bustling show floor at the WINDPOWER 2011 Conference & Exhibition, which took place in Anaheim, Calif. In another segment shot at the same time, Neblett, a veteran of four WINDPOWERs, discusses how he has been able to accomplish business objectives at the event over the years, even luring companies to his county. WINDPOWER 2012 will take place in Atlanta, Ga., June 3-6. For more information, go to www.windpowerexpo.org.

WindTV is a showcase of video profiles of Americans whose lives have been positively impacted by the wind energy industry. The site, located at www.awea.org/windtv, features a different video profile each week.

To hear more about Logan County’s experience with wind power, and how wind works for America, go to WindTV.

Related articles:

Former Congressman Boucher sees PTC extension likely, March 26, 2012
WindTV: Wind power breathes new life into small Colorado town, March 21, 2012
Citing need for certainty, BP's Landis calls for PTC extension, March 20, 2012
In op-ed, Kansas Governor, Senator call for PTC extension, March 19, 2012
Bipartisan group of Senators introduces bill to extend PTC, March 16, 2012
Houston Chronicle editorial supports PTC extension, March 15, 2012
Southern Alliance head urges: Extend the PTC, March 14, 2012
WindTV: Missouri manufacturer grows with the wind, March 12, 2012
Oklahoma and America need wind technicians–and a PTC extension, March 8, 2012
WindTV: An American family, powered by a paycheck from wind, March 5, 2012
Salazar, citing 'race we cannot cede', backs extending PTC, March 1, 2012
Kerry, Brown win praise for bipartisan support of PTC extension, February 29, 2012
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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Carl has been a part of the AWEA team since 2006. He brings both his expertise in communications as well as experience with the evolving wind energy industry to the job of overseeing AWEA's online and written publications including the Wind Energy Weekly, WINDPOWER Update, WINDPOWER Today, and various print materials. He has worked as a journalist in the energy industry as a staff writer for Public Utilities Fortnightly magazine and in the association sector as senior editor at Association Management magazine. He also has covered the home-building industry, where his areas of greatest interest were sustainable development and "smart growth," and has written articles for numerous other publications as a freelance writer. Carl received his B.A. from James Madison University and spent some time in New Orleans employed as a teacher as well as working with homeless youth.

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