President Obama put a face on the wind energy industry during his State of the Union address on Tuesday. It was the face of Bryan Ritterby who “found work at Energetx, a wind turbine manufacturer in Michigan” after being laid off from a job making furniture and is “proud to be working in the industry of the future.”
However, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) warns that layoffs could be in the future without the continuation of tax credits for the industry.
“Wind energy is one of the few sources of agreement in a divided Washington. But with an expiration of wind’s key federal incentive, the Production Tax Credit (PTC), looming at the end of the year, these good manufacturing jobs are in peril,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode in a statement after word got out that Ritterby would be highlighted in the speech. She noted that “with uncertainty over the PTC, layoffs have already begun and studies have forecast they will increase with each month we near expiration.”
Bipartisan legislation recently introduced by Representatives Dave Reichert (R, WA-08) and Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03) seeks to grant a four-year extension to the existing Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy. According to AWEA, the legislation recently received the endorsement of a broad, coalition of more than 370 members, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Edison Electric Institute, the Western Governors’ Association, the United Steelworkers and many members of the environmental community. A four-year PTC extension also has the support of the bipartisan Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition comprised of 23 Republican and Democratic Governors from across the U.S.