14 Indiana leaders presented sign-on letters to Senator Lugar’s office this week, petitioning him to renew the Production Tax Credit for wind, which is set to expire soon. Among the leaders calling for this renewal are Terri Austin of District 36, the United Steel Workers District 7, and a mayor. All letters were delivered to Senator Lugar’s office at 1180 Market Tower, 10 West Market Street, Indianapolis, IN after a series of speeches by the aforementioned speakers.
Senator Lugar has already expressed his support for the PTC at the recent Lugar Energy Summit on September 14th, but leaders are urging him now to take action by speaking up for the tax credit and voting to extend its life. The wind industry sustains more than 75,000 jobs nationwide and failure to renew the bill could result in half those jobs being lost. 1,500 of those jobs are located in Indiana alone. If PTC is extended, the potential for job growth and employment opportunities in Indiana would increase significantly.
“37,000 American jobs are at risk while Congress just looks the other way,” said Jim Robinson, District Director of United Steel Workers District 7. “They are playing politics with peoples’ jobs and that is truly unacceptable. Senator Lugar should be fighting for Hoosiers and calling on Republican leadership to renew the tax credit for wind energy immediately. Every day of inaction risks further job losses and hardship for thousands of American families,”
Reports of Congressional failure to renew the PTC have already resulted in layoffs at manufacturing facilities across the nation as companies wait to hear whether or not the tax credit will pass a vote. Many of the wind industry jobs in Indiana will face a similar fate if the delay continues.
The PTC is a tax credit designed to even out the energy playing field and has played a large part in the expansion of the wind industry over the past 10 years. Not only has the price of wind power gone down but also wind generation has been increasing. Currently, Iowa and South Dakota produce 20 percent of their own electricity just from wind power. If the wind industry were kept on the right path, by 2030 about 20 percent of the electricity generated by America would be from wind power.
“The PTC has been a successful federal policy which has spurred economic growth throughout the state of Indiana and the nation. The cost of wind energy is competitive with fossil fuels and adds diversity to our energy portfolio which helps shield consumers electric rates by reducing dependency on volatile fossil fuel prices,” said Kerwin Olsen, Executive Director of Citizens Action Coalition.
Even though the PTC maintains bi-partisan support it has to face a number of challenges in Congress. Including Republicans in the House of Representatives voting in favor of subsidies tied to fossil fuels. Additionally, the House leadership continually fails to bring the bill up for vote. Therefore, Hoosier citizens are calling on Senator Lugar to stand up and take action to support PTC and the progress and jobs it has brought to the state.
“Our Indiana leadership should support the development of wind energy in this state because of its clear benefits to our environment, economy and our health. As a grandfather I am deeply concerned about my grandchildren’s welfare and believe we should do everything in our power to improve their quality of life, investing in a clean energy future helps us to ensure that Indiana can support that vision.” said Reverend Dennis Shock, Advocacy Chair of Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light.