From Green Right Now Reports

Wind energy leaders are warning Washington that thousands of U.S. jobs in the sector would be lost if Congress fails to renew a key tax credit tied to wind production.

The Production Tax Credit (PTC) also supports solar power and other renewable energy projects (wave technology, for instance) by providing a tax break based on kilowatts to the qualifying businesses that build wind farms or other renewable energy facilities.

Without that tax policy, which has helped fuel rigorous growth in these industries, the wind sector would be forced to shed an estimated 37,000 jobs in wind production and thousands more in wind-related components manufacturing, forcing layoffs and possible closures at factories in dozens of states, according to a study released by the American Wind Energy Association on Monday.

Executives from Siemen’s Wind Energy, Winergy Drive Systems Corp., Leeco Steel and several components manufacturers, joined AWEA in releasing the study by Navigant Consulting. It projects major damage to the industry if Congress fails to renew the tax credit, which is due to expire at the end of 2012. Wind advocates say that investment will wane, leaving components manufacturers in the lurch, if Congress tarries.

“American manufacturing jobs are coming back with tens of thousands of new jobs from wind power,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “But these jobs could vanish if Congress allows the Production Tax Credit to expire, in effect enacting a targeted tax increase, and sending our jobs to foreign countries. Congress must act now to keep this American manufacturing success story going.”

That study by Navigant projected that if the PTC is not extended:

  • Total wind supported jobs will fall from 78,000 in 2012 to 41,000 in 2013
  • Total investment in the sector will drop from $16.5 billion in 2012to $5.5 billion in 2013.
  • Workers across a wide swath of the US would be affected by a slowdown in wind energy installations because the US is now home to 400 wind-related components in 43 states. The states most affected would be:  Colorado, Texas, Iowa, Illinois, Pennsylvania, California, Oregon, North Dakota and Ohio
  • Annual installations will drop to about 2 Gigawatts annually by 2013, down from more than 8 gigawatts in 2012.

If Congress extended the PTC for four years, through 2016, it would propel the industry in a positive direction:

  • Wind supported jobs would grow to 95,000 by 2016.
  • The US could add 8-10 Gigawatts of wind power each year through 2016.
  • Windpower would offset 490 tons of carbon emissions