23 Republican and Democratic governors ask Congress to support wind power

Published 11/16 2011 04:33AM

Updated 10/03 2014 07:08AM

From Green Right Now Reports

Governors representing a majority of the U.S. population have asked Congress to extend tax credits for renewable energy to help keep wind power moving forward in America, and to retain green jobs in the wind sector.

The 23 members of the Governors Wind Energy Coalition — representing states from New York to California, and several Midwestern states like Iowa and Kansas where wind is rapidly developing —   approved the Nov. 15 letter from their leaders to Congress asking that it renew tax credits for wind development.

Renewing the tax credits now will send the signal to wind developers and manufacturers that the U.S. will continue to offset investment in wind with tax incentives, the governors explain.

Without the investment tax credit, the industry, which employs around 100,000 Americans, could wane, as the  letter from the coalition to Congress outlines:

“Wind-related manufacturing is beginning to slow in our states because the credit has not yet been extended. If Congress pursues a last minute approach to the extension, the anticipated interruption of the credit’s benefits will result in a significant loss of high-paying jobs in a growing sector of the economy.”

Coalition members are asking Congress to renew tax credits set to expire at the end of 2012 by voting for the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act.

Read the full letter:

Dear Senator Reid, Senator McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and Democratic Leader Pelosi:

As governors from diverse regions of the nation, we share an interest in the development of our states' wind energy resources and the associated manufacturing and infrastructure modernization benefits — an interest that will be severely damaged if the wind production tax credit expires.

Although the tax credit for wind energy has long enjoyed bipartisan support, it is scheduled to expire on December 31, 2012. Wind-related manufacturing is beginning to slow in our states because the credit has not yet been extended. If Congress pursues a last minute approach to the extension, the anticipated interruption of the credit's benefits will result in a significant loss of high-paying jobs in a growing sector of the economy.

We strongly urge Congress to adopt a more consistent and longer-term federal tax policy to support wind energy development in the United States and to support recently introduced legislation such as the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act (H.R. 3307).

The leading wind project developers and manufacturers are slowing their plans for 2013 and beyond due to the current uncertainty. Some developers have no projects scheduled for 2013, and are beginning to lay off employees. The ripple effect of this slow down means reduced orders for turbines and decreased business for the hundreds of manufacturers who have entered the wind industry in our states. If the tax credit is allowed to expire at the end of 2012, there will be negative impacts on the high-tech manufacturing jobs that the industry has brought to or created in our states.

The nation's wind industry is again facing the boom-bust cycle in large measure due to an inconsistent tax policy. Like the oil and gas industries — which enjoy substantial tax credits that have not expired in nearly 100 years — wind energy, a domestic source of energy, needs a predictable policy for sustained economic growth and innovation.

When Congress allowed the tax credit to expire in 1999, 2001, and 2003, the development of new wind installations dropped significantly, between 73 percent and 93 percent, and thousands of jobs were lost. Providing renewable energy tax credits in order to provide consistency with conventional energy tax credits is the right policy to move the nation forward in an energy sector that offers global export opportunities and
the ability to modernize a segment of our electric production infrastructure.

The United States has some of the best wind resources in the world, but our lack of long-term national policies hinders our ability to develop them fully. Extending the production tax credit this year, rather than delaying action, is critical to the stability and growth of wind manufacturing in our states. A multi-year extension of at least 4 years would encourage investment of new capital, help catalyze the export of wind energy
technologies and related products, and support the goal of increasing domestic energy production. Without policy certainty, investors, developers, and manufacturers will move projects and jobs elsewhere.

We respectfully urge Congress promptly to pass a multi-year extension of the wind tax

Lincoln Chafee,
Chairman and Governor of Rhode Island
Terry Branstad,
Vice Chairman and Governor of Iowa

And coalition members:

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe

California Gov. Jerry Brown

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

Florida Gov. Rick Scott

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear

Maine Gov. Paul LePage

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton

Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire

West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin
Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, Chairman

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Vice Chairman

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