Tax credits for wind energy are set to expire at the end of this year, making environmentalists and the industry pretty nervous. Some Republicans, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, oppose a credit extension.
Peter Kelly, with the trade group American Wind Energy Association, says the tax credits more than pay for themselves, and cutting them would kill 37,000 jobs.
“The Production Tax Credit is not a subsidy,” said Kelly, speaking at an energy panel sponsored by Politico Pro during the Democratic National Convention. “It’s a market based way to drive investment through tax relief.”
AWEA says uncertainty over the tax credit has already led to layoffs. The Obama Administration has been good for the wind energy sector. Kelly says American-made wind power components, such as turbines, jumped from just 25 percent four years ago, to 70 percent today. He says $15 billion worth of annual investment in a growing manufacturing industry is at stake, should Congress let those credits expire.
The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report today aimed at highlighting wind energy’s contribution to the job market. The report shows that a typical wind farm construction project generates more than 1,000 direct jobs.
But it’s still unclear whether Congress will renew the tax credit. Recently, the American Wind Energy Association expelled one of its own members for desertion. Exelon, which owns several nuclear plants in Pennsylvania, has been lobbying against extending the tax credit and plans to redirect some of it’s wind investments should the credit not get renewed.