The debate over extending the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) has been raging all year, in Washington, D.C., here in California, and across the nation. Investment in wind energy was an issue in the presidential campaign, with Barack Obama supporting the PTC and Mitt Romney opposing it.
With the election results showing strong support for candidates who favor wind power, the time for debate is over. We must act, and act quickly.
The PTC will expire at the end of the year unless Congress votes to extend it. Congressional leaders have said that a vote on the PTC will take place during the current lame duck session of Congress—in other words, any day now.
Experts say that if we keep the PTC in place, over 500,000 more jobs will be created in the next 20 years. By then, wind will generate 20 percent of America’s electricity.
In a recent survey commissioned by the Sierra Club and National Council of La Raza, 87 perecnt of Latino voters, with all wages and benefits equal, said they would prefer to work in the clean energy industry rather than at a fossil fuel company or oil refinery.
The survey also found that 86 percent prefer that the government invest in clean, renewable energy like solar and wind, while just 11 percent of Latinos prefer investments in fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas.
Failure to extend the PTC will hit the U.S. economy hard—with 37,000 jobs lost by early next year, and the annual private investment in new wind farms in America dropping from $15.6 billion to $5.5 billion.
The power of wind can strengthen our community and secure a better future for our families. Congress should vote to extend the PTC.