Wind tax credit backers ramp up campaign to greet Congress

“Wind power makes clean energy, good jobs and better future. Don’t blow it,” some of the ads state, showing images of people working on wind projects. The ads, shown here, will run for a month.

The wind industry calls the production tax credit vital to financing new projects, and says that uncertainty about its future is what’s behind a number of recent layoffs by companies such as Vestas Wind Systems.

The industry will shed 37,000 jobs if the credit expires, according to a study by the consulting firm Navigant that was commissioned by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

“Wind week” will involve labor, environmental and wind industry groups, the Sierra Club said.

“Every day that Congress delays action means more layoffs and job losses for American workers. The wind industry doesn’t just support clean energy that keeps our air free of pollution, it also feeds the families of 75,000 workers,” Sierra Club President Michael Brune said in a statement.

Elsewhere, AWEA is lobbying hard for the credit and plans to deliver Congress a petition from wind industry workers – including veterans in the sector – as soon as next week.

The trade group’s fall symposium with industry officials in Arizona next week is also expected to feature strategizing over how to move the credit’s extension in the lame-duck session.

The 20-year-old credit has historically had bipartisan backing, but Republicans are increasingly criticizing green energy programs.

Critics of the credit are also boosting their efforts. The American Energy Alliance, a conservative group with fossil fuel industry backing, is circulating a new study on Capitol Hill that’s critical of the incentive.

It argues that the credit provides “training wheels” to an industry that doesn’t need them — especially at taxpayers’ expense.

The Senate Finance Committee in August approved a one-year extension of the credit, which carries an estimated cost of $12 billion over the next decade.

But the committee bill, which extends a series of expiring tax incentives, did not yet make it to the Senate floor. The House has not acted on the credit.