85 companies protest bill in Congress to slash further wind farm development

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 18, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — A threat to the most important federal policy for continued wind energy development in America has led 85 companies to protest to the 20 members of Congress involved.

The 20 are co-sponsors of the “PTC Elimination Act” (H.R. 1901, known as the Marchant-Pompeo bill for its initial two sponsors). The 85 companies today sent each a letter saying that if passed, that bill would “take away an effective, business tax incentive that creates jobs, drives rural economic development and reduces energy costs for Americans across the country.”

The legislation unfairly targets just one industry, the letter says, which has invested $100 billion since 2008:

“[R]ecent PTC expirations have led to dramatic job losses and shuttered manufacturing facilities. These recent examples show that taking away the PTC and making retroactive tax policy changes would threaten an important economic opportunity for workers and their families in your states.”

In 2014 alone, the U.S. wind energy industry added 23,000 jobs. But the year before, after the renewable energy Production Tax Credit was allowed to expire even briefly, installations of new wind farms fell 92 percent.

With stable policies, a U.S. Department of Energy report says American wind energy can quadruple by 2030 and supply the U.S. with 20 percent of its electricity. That will support 380,000 jobs; increase tax payments to communities to $1.8 billion a year; and increase lease payments to farmers and ranchers to $650 million a year.

The letter notes bipartisan support for continuing the renewable energy Production Tax Credit in Congress and from both Republican and Democratic presidents, as well as a strong majority of Americans.

For example, a March 2015 Gallup poll found 84 percent of American voters want the U.S. to put more emphasis or the same emphasis on producing domestic energy from wind. Two-thirds of Republicans and Independents wanted more emphasis.

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AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry, with 1,000 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world’s largest wind power trade show, the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, which takes place next in Orlando, FL, May 18-21, 2015. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America. Look up information on wind energy at the AWEA website. Find insight on industry issues at AWEA’s blog Into the Wind. Join AWEA on Facebook. Follow AWEA on Twitter.

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Wind power captures the natural wind in our atmosphere and converts it into mechanical energy then electricity. People started using wind power centuries ago with windmills, which pumped water, ground grain, and did other work. Today's wind turbine is a highly evolved version of a windmill. Modern wind turbines harness wind's kinetic energy and convert it into electricity. Most wind turbines have three blades and sit atop a steel tubular tower, and they range in size from 80-foot-tall turbines that can power a single home to utility-scale turbines that power hundreds of homes.

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