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Wind industry says jobs will be lost if tax credits expire

December 12, 2011 |  1:52 pm

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A new study released by the American Wind Energy Assn. today said 54,000 jobs can be created and maintained if Congress acts to extend the Production Tax Credit, which is set to expire in 2012.

“American manufacturing jobs are coming back, with tens of thousands of new jobs from wind power,” said Denise Bode, chief executive of the American Wind Energy Assn. (AWEA). “But these jobs could vanish if Congress allows the Production Tax Credit to expire."

The federal renewable-energy production tax credit allows wind producers to take a 30% investment tax credit. They could also choose to receive a 2.2-cent-per-kilowatt-hour production tax credit as an alternative. The tax credits have been in place since 1992.

The report, by Navigant Consulting Inc., analyzed two scenarios. In the first, the tax credit is allowed to expire; in the second, the tax credit is extended through 2016.

Navigant's study says that the wind market will shrink dramatically without the tax credits, with the number of jobs in the wind industry falling from nearly 78,000 to about 41,000 by 2013.

Navigant says the number of wind energy supported jobs will climb to 95,000 by 2016 if the tax credits are extended.

Related benefits of an extension would include a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of about 170 million tons, the report said.

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-- Ronald D. White

Photo: A field of 200-foot-tall wind turbines make up the Nine Canyon Wind Project in the southeast corner of Washington state. A new report says that wind power investment will decline sharply if tax credits are not extended. Credit: Tri-City Herald/MCT

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