WOW Members Urge Congress to Extend the PTC at Press Conference with White House CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley and Minn. Reps. McCollum and Ellison
By Kelley Welf on July 2, 2012
Several WOW members participated in a press conference this morning with Congresswoman Betty McCollum and Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality Nancy Sutley. The purpose of the event was to express support of the Production Tax Credit and to urge Congress to act quickly to extend the credit.
Speakers at the event included North St. Paul Mayor Mike Kuehn, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman Nancy Sutley, and Congressman Keith Ellison. From the business sector, WOW members, Mark Ahlstrom of Windlogics, Shanelle Montana of enXco, and Doug Fredrickson of Blattner spoke about how the PTC is affecting their businesses. Tim Maag from Mortenson Construction also participated in the event.
In the sweltering heat a crowd of supporters gathered at the City of North St. Paul’s wind turbine to celebrate wind power for the jobs it creates and the clean energy it produces.
Congresswoman McCollum stated that the wind industry is supporting 3,000 jobs in Minnesota and that 37,000 jobs may be lost nationwide if the PTC is not extended. “I’m ready to cast a vote for clean energy,” she said, pointing to the 106 bi-partisan congressmen supporting the PTC already.
Congressman Keith Ellison added that Minnesota is a leader in creating good wind jobs. He urged Congress to get out of the habit of passing things at the 11th hour because of the affect it has on the businesses that need it. The last time the PTC expired, development dropped by 73%. “This thriving industry is good for the environment, the economy and the country,” said Ellison.
Mark Ahlstrom stated that the uncertainty around the PTC hit his business early. WindLogics provides weather data to developers to help them create good projects. Since his work comes early in the process, WindLogics started to feel the pain of the expiring PTC last fall, and was forced to reduce their staff by 10 people. “We have clients who want to invest billions of dollars in new wind projects,” said Ahlstrom. “The industry has scaled up to the point where it can contribute $20 billion a year in private investment to the U.S. economy, with U.S. manufacturing and jobs, but this is on hold until the Production Tax Credit is renewed.”
Shanelle Montana explained that the projects enXco builds not only provide clean energy resources to the region, but also sustainable income to farmers and rural communities through the property tax and other payments. These payments provide funding for new roads, schools, and other infrastructure across the community. “We look forward to further development across the state. With an extension of the PTC we will be able to ensure the livelihood of rural communities and increase Minnesota leadership within the wind industry,” she said.
Doug Fredrickson explained that Blattner and Mortenson, another Minnesota construction company, are the two largest builders of wind farms in North America. But, if the PTC expires, tens of thousands of good jobs will be lost. Blattner employs 1,500 people directly in wind, and more through their subcontractors and suppliers. If the PTC is not extended, some of the nearly 500 U.S. manufacturing facilities that now supply 60% of the components for the wind industry may close. Fredrickson fears that if that happens, we may never be able to recapture those important jobs. “Blattner has been in the wind industry for 15 years,” said Fredrickson. “We have seen the PTC expire before. But there is so much more at stake now than before.”
St. Paul Pioneer Press: White House urges renewal of wind energy tax credits
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