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Wind turbine manufacturing companies worried about expiring production tax credits

By Jennifer Kendall, jkendall@ktxs.com
Published On: Sep 26 2012 10:43:03 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 27 2012 01:38:06 PM CDT

Tax credits for wind production are set to expire December 31, 2012.

President Obama said he supports extending the tax credits, but Mitt Romney does not. Because of the uncertainty, wind turbine manufacturing companies are already making massive cuts to jobs all over the U.S., including here in the Big Country.

"There's 8,000 parts of a wind turbine and a lot of those are built in Texas... People are being laid off by a thousand a day in the United States because of this delay of Congress," said Greg Wortham, Mayor of Sweetwater and Executive Director of Texas Wind Energy Clearinghouse.

Paul Sadler, who is running for Senate in Texas and worked as the Executive Director of The Wind Coalition for five years, said he is not a "wind-only guy," but he thinks the tax credits are important for energy independence.

"We need to extend this tax credit in order to continue this growth. It's important for our state, it's important for America," Sadler said. 

The production tax credit currently subsidizes wind power by 2.2 cents a kilowatt hour and costs the government about $1 billion a year. Texas leads the country in wind energy production, but there has never been a Texas Senator that has voted for the wind production credits.

"This region wouldn't have made it another 10 years till the next oil boom if we hadn't gotten wind money for new schools and high paying jobs. And it's just really frustrating how the people we elect aren't representing us," said Wortham. 

Congressman Randy Neugebauer voted against extending the tax credit in 2008. He said it is important "we don't have the government determine what our energy resources are."

Neugebauer said he supports all types of energy including wind, solar, oil and gas.

"What we need is sound policy that encourages all of the above and lets the marketplace determine what is the amount of wind, what is the amount of solar, what is the amount of traditional energy resources that we need to run our country," Neugebauer said.