At a press conference held today, Nov. 13, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber spoke for more than half of U.S. state governors, urging members of the U.S. Congress to pass the wind production tax credit (PTC) during the lame duck session. The pair reminded congressional leaders inside the beltway that the failure, thus far, to act on its passage has already negatively impacted the wind energy industry (here in the U.S. and elsewhere) and warned that a further delay in extending the PTC could cost more American jobs.
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who sponsored the Senate version of the bill (S. 3521) to extend the wind PTC, was on hand at the event sponsored by the Governor's Wind Energy Coalition (Arlington, Va.). Kansas Governor Sam Brownback and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper joined the press conference by phone.
The Coalition is a bipartisan group of 28 governors from across the country, who share a common interest in diversifying the U.S. energy portfolio to create American jobs and fully leverage the available renewable wind energy resources. Governor Branstad, a Republican, chairs the Coalition. Democratic Governors Kitzhaber and Hickenlooper are vice chairs. Coalition member Governor Brownback is a Repubican. Also present was the Coalition's executive director Larry Pearce.
Without a PTC extension, the Coalition estimated, the U.S. economy will lose 37,000 wind industry jobs and the opportunity to leverage more than $10 billion (USD) of private investment. With the PTC in force, the wind energy industry in the states of Iowa, Colorado, Oregon and Kansas has developed, and a whole new manufacturing sector has been created to supply component parts for wind turbines. Nearly 70 percent of a wind turbine’s value is manufactured in the U.S., today, at nearly 500 facilities across 44 states. America’s wind energy industry has generated more than $15 billion in private investment annually in each of the past five years, and employs 75,000 Americans.
For these reasons, the Coalition's Governors share a common and bipartisan interest in harnessing affordable, renewable and homegrown wind power. The governors offered to work with key leaders in Congress to discuss the importance of the wind energy industry.
The Coalition’s policy activities address all aspects of wind energy development, and technologies yet to come. For more information, visit www.governorswindenergycoalition.org.