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AWEA Blog - Wind energy executive: PTC-related layoffs 'not happy experience'

Laying off hundreds of workers because of Congress's delay in extending the federal wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) has been painful, one wind company spokesman said today on a segment aired on Minnesota Public Radio

Bill Burga, who heads manufacturing in North and South America for LM
Wind Power, a company that operates a turbine blade plant in Grand
Forks, N.D., and employs many Minnesotans, commented, "This is not good.
This is not a happy experience for us. Not a happy experience for our
people ... When you take it down like this, it's like stopping and
starting a freight train. It can take a long time to wind it down and a
very, very long time to bring it back up."

The wind power industry is in the process of being crippled, with orders
for new turbines in 2013 nosediving because of the financial uncertainty
created as the PTC remains in legislative limbo.

Mr. Burga said LM plans to remain in the business notwithstanding: " ...
I've got companies calling me that deal in used equipment that are
seizing on this opportunity. I'm quietly telling them it's not time. We
have no intention of giving up any of our assets. We're going to wait
for the market to crawl back and we're going to be there."

The PTC is an incentive that reduces taxes on the operators of wind
farms and leaves more of the money they earn from electricity sales in
private hands, helping to attract private investment not only in wind
projects, but in component manufacturers, suppliers, trucking companies
and more.The PTC provides an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per
kilowatt-hour for the first 10 years of electricity production from
utility-scale wind turbines. It is set to expire on Dec. 31 unless
Congress extends it first. A recent study by Navigant Consulting found
that extending the Production Tax Credit will allow the industry to grow
to 100,000 jobs in just four years, while an expiration would kill
37,000 jobs within a year.

A House bill seeking to extend the PTC has 110 cosponsors, including 25
Republicans, while a similar Senate bill is cosponsored by seven
Senators, including three Republicans.PTC extension efforts have
received the endorsement of a broad coalition of more than 370 members,
including the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm
Bureau Federation, and the Western Governors' Association. A PTC
extension also has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the
National Governors Association, and the bipartisan Governors' Wind
Energy Coalition, which includes 23 Republican and Democratic Governors
from across the U.S.A PTC extension has been endorsed by a number of
newspapers across the country, including the Des Moines Register, the
Denver Post, the Daily Oklahoman, the Toledo Blade, the Houston
Chronicle, the San Antonio Express-News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the
Chicago Sun-Times, and The New York Times.

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Trevor Sievert at ts@windfair.net
American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist

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