With the future of the wind energy industry standing on the unstable ground of a fast expiring tax break, speakers assembled at the Indianapolis International Brotherhood of Electricity Works (IBEW) Local 481 to stand behind the alternative energy source. The gathered group discussed not only the wind energy sector’s benefits to Indiana but also called on the members of the Indiana Congressional delegation—in particular Senator Lugar—to renew the tax break aiding the industry’s growth and continuation.
“Wind development is a major asset for steel workers and many other workers throughout Indiana,” said Tom Conway, the Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance for Indiana and Illinois. “In the past three years, Indiana has experienced significant growth with over 1,300 megawatts of wind energy installed, 14 manufacturing facilities creating wind turbine components, and one of the largest construction companies specializing in wind projects in the nation based here in the state.”
The Production Tax Credit (PTC) is a federal tax policy that provides an equal opportunity for the wind industry to compete against other energy industries while encouraging the growth and expansion of the sector. Currently, 75,000 jobs across the nation are associated with the wind industry.
“The wind energy sector provided hundreds of jobs for construction workers during the economic recession, created permanent high-wage positions, and brought billions of dollars in investments to our rural communities and businesses in Indiana,” said Connie Neininger, the White County Economic Development Director, “land leases provide additional income for families, and the millions of dollars in property taxes to be paid by the wind projects each year will help decrease the tax burden for other land owners.”
Ready to run out on New Years Eve, the hesitancy of Congress to renew the Production Tax Credit has already led to layoffs as companies cancel or suspend purchases for wind turbines. If Congress fails to renew the Production Tax Credit, it’s estimated that half of all existing US wind jobs will disappear by the end of the year.
“America can be a leader in job creation through innovation and modernization of our energy sector, but only if decision-makers support policies such as the PTC,” said Noel Davis, a retired U.S. Navy Commander and entrepreneur working to set up a business manufacturing wind turbine gear boxes in Marion. “The PTC allows for us to compete in a global market where Asia and Europe have the support of their governments for energy businesses, making a level playing field virtually impossible for Renewable companies in the U.S.”
By recommencing the Production Tax Credit, Congress can ensure wind energy jobs are maintained and created throughout Indiana and the Midwest. In addition, renewing the tax policy will continue to reduce overall dependence on fossil fuels.
“This Labor Day week, we call on Senator Lugar to demonstrate his support for American jobs by encouraging efforts to renew the PTC,” said Megan Anderson, an organizer with the Sierra Club. “His values of energy independence, security, and an appreciation for Indiana manufacturing jobs can provide a lasting legacy for future generations to appreciate.”