New PTC supporters, including Republican strategist Karl Rove, emerged for the campaign to keep U.S. wind energy growing by extending a critical Production Tax Credit (PTC), as the global wind industry’s largest annual gathering, WINDPOWER 2012.
Microsoft and Sprint delivered a new letter to the Congressional leadership asking for an extension of the PTC. Microsoft and Sprint are the largest “wind customer” companies to endorse the campaign, ranking 37th and 90th in the Fortune 500, with combined annual revenues of over $100 billion. They join 15 other major U.S. companies and consumer brands, including Starbucks, Nike, Campbell’s Soup, Staples, Yahoo!, and Hewlett-Packard, who have committed to purchasing more renewable energy, and endorsing the PTC extension.
And Tuesday, during the tradeshow, Karl Rove endorsed a PTC extension along with Robert Gibbs, a former spokesman for President Obama, in a lively discussion during a general assembly appearance before an audience of thousands.
“We’ve got a growing economy that’s increasing energy consumption and wind energy should be part of the solution,” Rove said, describing how he saw wind energy’s benefits in person while staffing then-Gov. George W. Bush in Texas. Extending the PTC “should be a priority,” he said.
Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, said over 90 wind manufacturing plants call the Southeast home.
“We have seen the energy that our industry brings to America— in terms of electrons produced and jobs created—can and will not be stopped. But Congress must do its part and pass an extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind energy as soon as possible so that our industry can move forward,” she said.
The Production Tax Credit (PTC), wind power’s primary policy driver, is scheduled to expire at the end of the year, and already the industry’s supply chain is feeling the effects of the uncertainty. The PTC has been a key topic throughout Windpower 2012 and will continue to be until Congress takes action. A recent study found that extending the PTC will allow the industry to grow to 100,000 jobs in just four years, while an expiration will cause the loss of 37,000 jobs.
Windpower 2012 helped send the message of the PTC’s economic importance straight to Washington, D.C. During the tradeshow, Congress received some 20,000 contacts from constituents through the industry’s grassroots action network PowerofWind.com.