AWEA predicts job losses if renewable energy tax credits falters

The American Wind Energy Association says more than 116,000 U.S. jobs could be jeopardized if the U.S. Congress fails to renew tax credits for renewable energy.

A new economic study by Navigant Consulting (Chicago, Ill.) finds that more than 116,000 U.S. jobs and nearly $19 billion (USD) in U.S. investment could be lost in one year if renewable energy tax credits are not renewed by the U.S. Congress, according to preliminary results released today by the American Wind Energy Assn. (AWEA, Washington, D.C.) and the Solar Energy Industries Assn. (SEIA, Washington, D.C.).

The study finds that more than 76,000 jobs are put at risk in the wind industry, and approximately 40,000 jobs in the solar industry. The states that could lose the most jobs include: Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Oregon, Minnesota, Washington, Iowa, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and California. The lion's share of these states would lose more than 1,000 jobs.

"This study confirms the huge economic stimulative impact of extending the tax credits for renewable energy,"commented Gregory Wetstone, senior director for Public and Government Affairs of the AWEA. "At risk are many thousands of construction jobs, operations and maintenance jobs, and a major shot in the arm for the ailing U.S. manufacturing sector. Shuttered facilities that once provided steel, railcars, trucks, submarines, and household appliances are now being converted to manufacture renewable energy components. Today, however, investors are holding back because of Congress's delay in extending renewable energy tax credits, undermining one of the brightest and fasting growing areas of the American economy."

"Solar energy is an economic engine that creates high-quality jobs and attracts commercial investment,"said Rhone Resch, president of SEIA. "If the investment tax credit is not renewed in early 2008, it will disrupt this high-growth sector, impact tens of thousands of U.S. jobs, and undermine advances in clean energy production."

In 2007, wind turbine installations employed thousands of workers in construction, and at least 14 new manufacturing facilities have been opened or announced across the nation to make wind turbines and wind turbine components.