This blog was written by Natasha Patel, communications intern for the BlueGreen Alliance.
Illinois, a state known for the Willis Tower and its notoriously hot summers, is making a name for itself in the wind industry. With over 3,300 megawatts of electricity generated, Illinois ranks fourth nationally in terms of overall wind capacity installed.
The current capacity is enough to generate 2.2 percent of the state’s electricity needs, bringing good jobs, a green economy, and a healthy environment to the U.S.
Today, five to ten thousand direct and indirect jobs are created from the state’s wind-based maintenance, construction, and manufacturing sectors. While impressive, most of these jobs are in the construction sector.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the greatest potential in maximizing the number of wind-based jobs created in Illinois is in the manufacturing sector. Currently, there are 1,000 wind manufacturing jobs in Illinois and 30,000 wind manufacturing jobs nationally.
Manufacturing jobs are more permanent versus short term construction jobs and encourage further development of U.S. based clean energy manufacturing companies. This allows the U.S to stay competitive in the global clean energy market while promoting renewable energy development and providing thousands of clean energy jobs across the nation.
The number of manufacturing jobs in Illinois, while small, has increased with the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy, but is in danger of drastically decreasing with its expiration at the end of the year. To continue making good jobs in the construction and manufacturing sectors, and to further expand the wind manufacturing sector in Illinois and throughout the U.S., Congress should take action to renew the PTC once it expires. Join our effort to save American jobs by sending a letter to Congress supporting extending the PTC and other important tax incentives.
Current wind production in Illinois avoids over 4.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Imagine what an extended PTC can do not only for our environment, but for our economy and for future generations.
To read more on the benefits of wind production and other clean energy-based jobs, check out our Jobs21! Plan.