BLUE GREEN ALLIANCE PUSHES PRODUCTION TAX CREDIT EXTENSION FOR WIND INDUSTRY
BY STAS MARGARONIS
The Blue Green Alliance, a coalition of union and environmental organizations, is lobbying Congress to approve a production tax credit (PTC) for the wind industry by the end of 2012 so as to maintain the momentum of new installations.
Eric Steen, deputy director of communications, said: “It would be catastrophic if the PTC was not extended in 2012, and would result in a job loss of 37,000 jobs. Since 2007, the domestic content of wind turbines in the U.S. has gone from 25% U.S. content to 60% U.S. content. We have to hope that Congress will see the economic necessity of extending the PTC. However, gridlock in Congress has had a very negative impact.”
Steen said there has been progress lining up support in the Senate and in the House:
“We have had some movement in the U.S. Senate from the Senate Finance Committee in support of the PTC. In the House, we have a bill that has 114 co-sponsors including Republicans and Democrats.”
Steen said the PTC originated in 1992 and since then there has been a ten fold increase in wind power generation in the United States, but Congressional inaction may de-rail this.
For example, ”the Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, and his vice-presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, oppose the PTC and it is not part of their energy plan. “
Steen said the prospect for a new climate change bill will have to await the outcome of this election: “If President Obama is re-elected, we are very hopeful that there will be a new jobs initiative and a new initiative on climate change.”
The Blue Green Alliance was first organized in 2006 as a coalition between the Sierra Club and the United Steelworkers of America. Since then it has grown to include 4 of the largest environmental organizations and 10 leading labor organizations. BGA will be hosting its 2013 jobs conference in Washington, D.C. on April 16-17.