Iowa Public Television


President Obama Makes Election Year Plea For Wind Industry

posted on May 25, 2012

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President Barack Obama: “You can’t wait for six months.  You can’t wait for eight months. You can’t wait for a year to get this done. It’s got to be done now.”

President Barack Obama returned to a familiar rural location this week to press for a key renewable energy tax credit.  Speaking at TPI Composites, a wind turbine blade manufacturer in Newton, Iowa, the President hailed an extension of the wind energy production tax as a key economic pillar.

President Barack Obama:  “Congress should extend these tax credits, and they should do it now. Every day they don’t act, businesses grow more concerned about these tax credits drying up. They’re worried demand for their products is going to fall. So they start thinking twice about expanding. They start becoming more cautious about making new investments here at home and they start looking overseas.  I was talking to your CEO and he says we have an opportunity to branch out but we want to branch out by making the stuff here and sending it there.  We don’t want to branch out by sending the jobs and the investments over there.   That doesn’t make sense.”

Wind industry officials argue the production tax credits have been instrumental in supporting the burgeoning energy sector and which received strong backing in the Obama Administration’s 2009 stimulus act.  But with an expiration looming at year’s end, the president warns up to 37,000 jobs throughout the wind industry could be lost.

Officials at TPI Composites say the tax credit helped finance a new production facility inNewtonwhich currently employs 700 workers.

Over the past five years, the American Wind Energy Association estimates the tax credit has encouraged $15.5 billion per year in private wind power investment.

Republicans, including those in favor of wind energy tax credits, blasted the president for utilizing the issue on what they call “election year distractions.”

Sen. Charles Grassley, a supporter of a two-year wind energy tax extension, said:

“The president could exert his leadership by working with Congress on a way forward instead of calling for a provision that’s a no-brainer for many of us.   He’s focusing on the easy part of a bigger task. The stakes for the wind industry and the country in general will only get worse with delay. It’s time to act, not politick.”

The Production tax credit, or PTC, last temporarily expired in 2005, before President George W. Bush signed a new Energy Policy Act.  If the PTC fails to gain traction during an election-year congressional session, the incentive will expire on December 31.  But industry experts warn job losses could come sooner as businesses continue to plan 2013 expenditures.

Tags: agriculture Barack Obama Energy Policy Act industry manufacturing news Newton president president obama presidential campaigns presidential candidates Production Tax Credit tax credits TPI Composites wind wind energy wind farm wind farms wind power wind turbines