As the Production Tax Credit (PTC) remains stalled in Congress, worker layoffs in the wind energy industry are rising. The Iowa Wind Energy Association has been forewarning legislators that if the PTC is not extended, thousands of Americans could lose their jobs. Proof: Siemen’s has laid off more than 400 workers in its Fort Madison wind turbine blade plant. Other companies that have let employees go include Clipper and Vestas among others.
Layoffs will accelerate as many wind farms currently under construction will be completed by December 31, 2012. Without the security of the Production Tax Credit, investors are not moving forward with the monies needed to build or expand wind farms. This in turn dries up demand for the entire wind turbine supply chain.
Iowa leads the nation in the number of people employed with component manufacturers and wind related companies. The industry totaled nearly 7,000 across the state until the layoffs began. Following the Siemen’s announcement, 10 percent of Iowa’s wind energy workforce has disappeared.
On the national level, the failure to extend the PTC could cost as many as 37,000 jobs according to estimates by Navigant Consulting. A delay could reduce the expansion of the wind energy industry between 75 percent to 90 percent compared to previous years.
The lowa Congressional Delegation is leading the effort to expand the PTC in both the Senate and House. Yet the Iowa Wind Energy Association notes that legislators need more help from Senators and Representatives from other states to grow a bipartisan coalition to move the extension forward. This can be done through grassroots efforts including contacting your local legislator to let them know how important the wind energy industry is to America.