Fiscal Cliff Deal Extends U.S. Wind Power Tax Credits

article image
Photo by Fotolia/rukanoga
The fiscal deal extends a key tax credit for the wind industry for one year, and changes it in a way that will prod a lot of development in 2013.

The following news
release was provided on Jan. 1, 2013, by the
American Wind Energy
Association.

The United States’ 75,000 workers in wind energy are
celebrating tonight over the continuation of policies expected to save up to
37,000 jobs and create far more over time, and to revive business at nearly 500
manufacturing facilities across the country. The extension of the wind energy
Production Tax Credit (PTC), and Investment Tax Credits for community and
offshore projects, will allow continued growth of the energy source that
installed the most new electrical generating capacity in the United States
last year, with factories or wind farms in all 50 states.

The version included in the deal would cover all wind
projects that start construction in 2013. Companies that manufacture wind
turbines and install them sought that definition to allow for the 18-24 months
it takes to develop a new wind farm.

Leaders of the Senate Finance Committee included that
version in a “tax extenders” package they assembled in August, which made it
into the overall fiscal cliff deal that passed the Senate early Jan. 1 morning
and passed in the House that night. The bill is expected to be swiftly signed
into law by President Obama, who consistently supported the wind energy tax
credits throughout the process.

Wind set a new record in 2012 by installing 44 percent of
all new electrical generating capacity in America, according to the Energy
Information Administration, leading the electric sector compared with 30
percent for natural gas, and lesser amounts for coal and other sources.

However, America’s
wind energy workers have been living under threat of the PTC’s expiration for
over a year and layoffs had already begun, as companies idled factories because
of a lack of orders for 2013. Uncertain federal policies have caused a
“boom-bust” cycle in U.S.
wind energy development for over a decade.

Half the American jobs in wind energy – 37,000 out of 75,000
– and hundreds of U.S. factories in the supply chain would have been at stake
had the PTC been allowed to expire, according to a study by Navigant
Consulting.

In the closing days of this year’s “lame duck” session of
Congress, U.S. wind energy workers have been posting videos to tell their
stories of working in the new industry. The 2,000 companies that belong to AWEA
have sent delegations to Capitol Hill repeatedly, invited Members of Congress
on tours of wind farms and factories, and delivered hundreds of thousands of
letters from constituents.

“On behalf of all the people working in wind energy
manufacturing facilities, their families, and all the communities that benefit,
we thank President Obama and all the Members of the House and Senate who had
the foresight to extend this successful policy, so wind projects can continue
to be developed in 2013 and 2014,” said Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA for the past
four years.

“Now we can continue to provide America with more clean,
affordable, homegrown energy, and keep growing a new manufacturing sector
that’s now making nearly 70 percent of our wind turbines in the U.S.A.,” said
Rob Gramlich, who becomes AWEA’s interim CEO on January.

For further information, quotes from
industry leaders or comments on the outcome of the fiscal cliff negotiations,
please call Ellen Carey at 202.249.7357 or Peter Kelley at 202.270.8831.

About wind energy

Wind energy has strengthened the economic fabric of
communities across America,
becoming one of the fastest growing U.S. manufacturing sectors. At
least 472 U.S.
factories currently supply the industry, up from as few as 30 in 2004, the
nonpartisan Congressional Research Service recently found.

  • U.S.
    Department of Energy has projected that wind energy can supply 20 percent
    of America’s
    electricity by 2030.
  • That
    would support roughly 500,000 good, quality jobs in the U.S., with
    an annual average of more than 150,000 workers directly employed by the
    wind industry. And, it would result in energy-related cost savings to the
    nation ranging from $100 billion to $250 billion through 2030 – savings which
    have already begun.

AWEA is the national trade
association of America’s
wind industry, with 2,000 member companies, including global leaders in wind
power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service
suppliers, and the world’s largest wind power trade show, the WINDPOWER
Conference & Exhibition, which takes place next in Chicago, May 5-8, 2013.