The following post is from Katie Gulley, Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance in Minnesota.
“…extending the Production Tax Credit will give businesses the certainty they need to create and maintain local jobs, while at the same time reducing our dependence on unstable countries in the Middle East. Congress should act now and extend this tax credit to help small businesses and protect local jobs.” – Congressman Tim Walz of Minnesota.
Yesterday, I joined local leaders, including Congressman Tim Walz (MN-1), in calling for Congress to renew the Production Tax Credit (PTC). The event took place at a training center for renewable energy in Rochester, MN. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 343 runs a 5-year apprenticeship program for electricians and offers a wind certification for those interested in the wind industry. The Local 343 training center features a 60 foot turbine tower section used for practicing safety measures as well as many other hands-on and classroom-style electrical applications. As luck would have it, it was the last day of class for the current program, so about a dozen apprentices were able to join us.
The event brought into focus the importance of extending this job-creating credit. The message was simple: if the PTC is extended, America could create and save 54,000 jobs, but if Congress fails to keep it, we risk losing roughly half the jobs in the American wind industry.
Today, Congressman Tim Walz called on Congress to renew its commitment to energy independence by enacting bipartisan legislation to extend the Production Tax Credit. Extending the tax credit would give certainty to local wind energy manufacturers who employ construction workers, technicians, welders, and numerous others in good-paying jobs across southern Minnesota and the country.
The First Congressional District currently ranks 5th in United States for installed wind capacity and Minnesota wind farms produce enough sustainable energy to power nearly 1 million homes.
The PTC is a 2.2-cent per kilowatt tax credit for the production of electricity from utility-scale wind turbines for the first ten years of production. It was established under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and has been renewed several times. The credit is set to expire in December 2012 (check out more PTC facts here).
The PTC is an important component of the BlueGreen Alliance’s Jobs21! plan to create and keep good jobs in the industries of the 21st century — renewable energy, energy efficiency, manufacturing, transportation, broadband Internet and smart grid, green chemistry, and recycling — and without it the U.S. wind industry won’t be able to compete against China, Europe and the rest of the world for good jobs in renewable energy.
The Congressman and I were joined by local labor leaders in supporting the effort to renew the credit to protect and create more good jobs here in Minnesota and throughout the rest of the country. I want to thank those local leaders and Congressman Walz for fighting the good fight alongside the BlueGreen Alliance to save and create good jobs in the 21st century. You can help us by sending an email to Congress today urging them to extend the PTC now.