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Thousands of American workers could be losing their jobs next year if a pivotal production tax credit (PTC) ends up dying at the end of this year. Without Congress agreeing to keep the wind in the PTC’s sails after Dec. 31, the wind energy industry as a whole will deflate immensely, killing the dream green jobs of many.
In fact, a whopping 37,000 jobs that are related to the wind energy industry could be affected by Congress’ failure to extend the PTC. That figure of 37,000 is equivalent to half the total number of people currently working in the United States’ wind energy industry – a total that U.S. President Barack Obama has been making a huge focus.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney is opposed to this type of extension, citing wind energy as not a viable energy option. Still, industry experts in a U.S. Department of Energy report say that 70 percent of wind energy turbines are made in the United States – a huge jump from the 35 percent made here back in 2005. Right now, renewable portfolio standards are being heralded as what will keep the wind energy industry alive following the PTC, but currently they are inadequate for supporting the level of wind energy development the nation has enjoyed in the past.
Even though the PTC hasn’t necessarily gone away yet, some companies already are trimming jobs just because they are not sure about the fate of this tax credit. For instance, Vestas has planned to lay off 3 percent of its employees in North America, while LM Wind Power additionally is getting rid of some wind energy jobs.
The potential 37,000 jobless workers might find out next month in September whether they will still have jobs after Dec. 31. So far, the Senate Finance Committee has passed the Family and Business Tax Cut Certainty Act of 2012, which will extend the tax credit for a year. The entire Senate should fully vote on the PTC next month, but it might not be the focus of the House until after this year’s election in November.
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