Extension will protect over 1,000 wind industry jobs in Missouri
Washington – It may have blown past you in the flurry of debate over the so called “fiscal cliff,” but on Jan.1, after several weeks of budget negotiations, Congress passed legislation that will extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for wind energy for one year.
The extension of the wind tax credit, as well as changes to the eligibility requirements, will allow the wind industry to resume its strong growth and hire back many of the workers who were laid off in the past year.
At least 12 facilities in Missouri manufacture components for the wind energy industry, including ABB in Jefferson City (transformers), Zoltek in St. Charles County (carbon fiber for blades), CG Power Systems in Franklin County (transformers), Continental Disc Corporation in Liberty (brakes), Lincoln Industrial in St. Louis (lubrication systems) and FAG bearings in Joplin (ball bearings).
The Missouri Chapter of the Sierra Club, which hailed the extension of the tax credits, estimates the companies employee a combined total of more than 1,000 workers in the wind industry sector.
Gerald Nickelson, president at IUE-CWA Local 86114, which represents about 320 hourly union workers at CG Power Systems in Washington, MO, which produces electric transformers for power-generating wind turbines, said projects that were put on hold last year are now expected to move forward and additional projects are now being considered as a result of the extension of the PTC and ITC.
“All the projects that we had last year that were put on hold they have gone back and revisited and they’re going to be realized this year, Nickelson said. “And withy the extension of the Production Tax Credit we expect there are going to be more projects out there.”
New wind energy installations will also create jobs in construction as well as in operations and maintenance, and provide land-owners and local governments much-needed revenue.
John Hickey, director of the Missouri Chapter of the Sierra Club, says the wind energy tax credit, is just a drop in the bucket compared to all the subsidies coal and oil have received over the years.
"The federal government subsidizes coal and oil,” Hickey told the Missouri News Service. “Those subsidies don't have sunsets; they don't have one-year sunsets or two-year sunsets so that they're debated frequently. They are permanent."