Colorado senators pin layoffs on wind energy tax credit uncertainty

Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, announced Wednesday that it had cut 30 jobs at the Brighton, Colo., location. Last week, the firm laid off 90 workers at its Pueblo, Colo., plant. It attributed both rounds of cuts to the uncertainty surrounding the PTC, which is set to expire on Dec. 31.

“I fear that Vestas’s layoff announcements this week are only the beginning if Congress does not extend the PTC ASAP,” Udall said in a statement. “I plan to take the stories of the workers in Pueblo, Brighton and other cities across Colorado back to Washington to continue to make the case for the PTC.”

Udall has previously said some senators have resisted taking up energy bills because they are holding out for a broad revision of the federal tax code.

The full Senate may soon have a chance to decide on the PTC, as it passed the Senate Finance Committee in a $205 billion tax extenders package earlier this month. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he is “very confident” it will pass this year.

The wind industry has said letting the PTC end would eliminate 37,000 direct and indirect jobs, while preserving it would maintain 75,000 jobs. The Obama administration has touted those figures as well, and has stepped up its wind energy messaging in Colorado and Iowa in recent weeks.

But with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in favor of letting the PTC end as scheduled and Obama pushing for its extension, the incentive’s fate might not be known until after the November elections.