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WindTV: Missouri manufacturer grows with the wind

WindTV: Missouri manufacturer grows with the wind

Will PTC uncertainty kill this American success story?

Able Manufacturing is creating new jobs and economic opportunity in Joplin, Mo., and this success story can be replicated all across the U.S. with stable tax policy.

In the latest segment of WindTV, the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) vehicle to highlight how wind works for America, Able CEO Jim Schwarz tells of how his wind energy supply chain manufacturing company went from zero employees in 2008 to 25, as well as of plans for adding another 10 employees to meet demand in what is expected to be a big year for wind energy development.

Able Manufacturing, a Missouri company that produces composite parts for wind turbine nacelles and blades, has doubled its wind energy sales every year since 2008, the year it got into the business. Schwarz’s company is emblematic of what industry data has shown to be a trend for the last several years: the wind energy supply chain continues to grow deeper and farther-reaching roots across America. Wind power manufacturing can be found in every part of the nation; the industry supported jobs in every state in the U.S. in 2011. Wind power supports 75,000 American jobs today and is on track to support 500,000 American jobs by 2030.

But, with the PTC set to expire at the end of 2012, question marks loom for the wind power industry and tens of thousands of American jobs. Able Manufacturing can already feel its section of that chain rattling with the uncertainty of a federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) that’s set to expire at the end of the year. “We have orders through about August,” says Schwarz. “But the orders in September and October are near zero, or none.”

The PTC is wind power’s primary policy driver.  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 1,000 Missouri jobs at more than seven wind power manufacturing facilities across the state. Missouri wind farms, meanwhile, provide a second cash crop to the state’s farmers and a vital source of support for rural communities in the form of more than $1.3 million a year in land lease payments and $2.6 million in annual property tax payments.

“The story of Able Manufacturing shows what is at stake as Congress considers an extension of the Product Tax Credit,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “As Jim Schwarz explains, time is of the essence. Businesses need policy certainty and hard-working Americans need the certainty of their paychecks.”

To be sure, those paychecks of Missourians and workers across America hang in the balance. After hiring workers to meet demand this year, “We’re going to see that uncertainty, and then [business is] going to drop back down for us,” says Schwarz, referencing the blank order sheets for the fall. “What do you do with those workers? How do you rearrange for them?”

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 Able Manufacturing and how wind power works for America, go to WindTV.

Related articles:

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
Governors' letter urges prompt extension of wind tax incentive
, November 16, 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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