Mitt Romney Supports An End To Wind Tax Credit, Which Could ‘Mean The Loss Of Several Thousand Jobs’

Staffers for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign say the candidate wants to end the wind production tax credit.

That federal credit has allowed the wind industry to compete with heavily-subsidized fossil fuels that do considerable harm to the environment and public health — impacts that are not reflected in their price.

The production tax credit provides wind developers with a tax benefit of 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour of wind electricity produced — far below the air pollution damages caused by coal plants. Without Congressional action, the incentive will expire at the end of this year, potentially resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of manufacturing and construction jobs supported by the sector.

Romney has hinted that he wants to end federal tax support for clean energy, but he has not yet made a definitive statement on the production tax credit. However, the Des Moines Register is now reporting that Romney has taken a more concrete stance on the issue:

Mitt Romney’s opposition to wind power could put a damper on Iowa’s wind industry and its thousands of jobs, advocates say.

The federal wind energy production tax credit is set to expire at the end of the year. Staffers for Romney, the likely Republican presidential candidate, said he wants to end the credit, but didn’t specify whether it should be allowed to expire this year or phased out shortly after. President Barack Obama wants an indefinite extension of the tax credit.

Industry insiders and policymakers in Iowa, Republicans and Democrats alike, say ending the credit would hurt Iowa’s blossoming industry.

“It’s really going to slow down the expansion of wind energy,” said Harold Prior, executive director of the Iowa Wind Energy Association. “This could mean the loss of several thousand jobs in the industry.”

The looming threat of an expiration is making it difficult for developers to plan beyond 2012. As a result, wind companies are delaying projects and laying workers off. In Pennsylvania, a turbine manufacturer furloughed 165 workers; in April, an Ohio wind developer scrapped plans for a $20 million project; in Arkansas, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries halted plans for a $100 million production facility; and Vestas, the world’s largest wind manufacturer, may lay off 1,600 workers if the credit expires.

As the Des Moines Register reports, federal policy uncertainty is forcing companies to move activity outside the American market:

One company said the uncertainty over the tax credit’s future has led leaders to focus on exporting its products to other countries instead of banking on domestic buyers. Spain-based Acciona has been assembling wind turbines in West Branch since 2007.

“What we are doing in West Branch is diversifying our portfolio, not just focusing on the United States, but Mexico and Canada as well,” said Joe Baker, chief executive officer of Acciona’s North American windpower unit.

“The uncertainty prevents the investors from committing resources to new wind farms and really creates about an 18-month gap, even if the production tax credit is renewed. Our association has had some companies that have gone out of business because of the uncertainty. They don’t know if they can sustain their operation,” Prior said.

Over the last five years, wind has brought $20 billion in annual private investment to the U.S. — helping support 75,000 jobs and making America one of the most competitive countries in the wind industry. However, the expiration of the credit may force up to 37,000 layoffs in the industry over the next year.

While he supports ending federal support for the wind industry, Romney has fiercely defended tax credits for the mature oil and gas industries.

The Obama campaign has seized on Romney’s contradictory stance in recent months, using it as a messaging platform in the Midwest, where wind provides enormous economic benefits.

“You had our good friend Mitt Romney saying he dismissed wind and solar by saying they’re ‘two of the most ballyhooed forms of alternative energy.’ Tell that to the 7,000 workers manufacturing wind power here in Iowa,” said Vice President Joe Biden at a campaign stop in Iowa.

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21 Responses to Mitt Romney Supports An End To Wind Tax Credit, Which Could ‘Mean The Loss Of Several Thousand Jobs’

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    This is strictly about keeping up the fossil fuel industry cash flow for the Romney campaign. The candidate himself is obviously psychopathic, and has no actual opinions on any of these issues himself.

    It could cost him Iowa, but Rove and other GOP strategists have calculated that ad money will bring them Florida, Virginia, and maybe even Pennsylvania and Ohio, all states that don’t have big wind industries.

    As for what all this means for the future of humanity, they really don’t care.

  2. Andy Olsen says:

    Pollution, itself, is a tax. It taxes our health, our environment and our future. It’s a tax from the polluted to subsidize the polluters.

  3. Cats r Flyfishn says:

    Romney is the job cremator.

  4. Maurice Webb says:

    Rmoney and the republicans want to take our country back, as in backward to the 1950’s when oil was king and we didn’t know the dangers of fossil fuel pollution. Advances in renewable engery will be strangled in birth if left up to these regressives.

  5. Marie says:

    Is that because wind energy can’t be outsourced?
    Or because he doesn’t want to divvy up any tax credits that now go to oil?
    Romney is not a stupid man, but he is a stupid politician — a panderer to those who support him instead of doing best for the nation that enabled him to become rich.

  6. Mitch Beales says:

    Global warming due to past and continuing use of fossil fuels increases the energy stored in the atmosphere. This will increase the potential for wind energy and, if Romney has his way, the rate at which America is being left behind by the nations of Europe and Asia.

  7. Mugsy says:

    So much for those “tax cuts for job creators”.

    Clearly, they have decided just what industries they believe are worthy of promotion.

  8. JFM says:

    And not an end to the billions in subsidies for big OIL?

  9. Jackie says:

    Coal owners and oil companies have poured in millions to Mitt’s campaign and people don’t matter it’s all about the money. Bush apported Rob Portman as Czar of US Trade and he sent thousands of jobs to China, Russia and India. Remember that’s how Bush got that loan from China for the two Wars. Now Mitt has to do what it takes to get in office and the American people don’t count.

  10. Cletus says:

    Boy, it’s going to take a whole entire cable news network working 24/7 to get Romney out of the hole he’s dug for himself. If only there were such a cable news network…

  11. fred says:

    Well, to break the hearts of all those green energy supporters, your windmills are killing tens of thousands of bats annually and the numbers are only going up as more facilities are built.

    A horrible side effect of putting money into something not fully understood, but let the green industry hide this glaring horror story from the public eye in support of cleaner energy sources.

  12. Shawn Morris says:

    One more reason to NOT vote for mitt. These greedheads want zero competition for big oil. Shortsighted and utterly transparent who is funding mitt’s campaign: the Kock bros.

  13. Wally OBrien says:

    Anyone else having problems with this site?

    About 2 months ago I couldn’t access any of the comments. I’d get notes how people were commenting on things that I’ve said.

    Even today, this is the only one I can comment on.

    Writing to TP gets no response.

  14. Only have problems when posting via vpn.

  15. facts lean left says:

    So, bats are more important than humans? And how many fish and birds have been decimated by oil in the last century?

    Rather a lame distraction, even for you.

  16. Zarrakan says:

    Mitt Romney likely has stock, payoffs, or both with the oil industry. So yeah. Mitt Romney wants to help himself by hurting everyone else. That’s his “normal.” This should really not surprise anyone who has been paying attention to what the Republicans have been doing for quite some time. Associating with organized crime is probably the least of their offenses. What the Republicans want is the complete destruction/subjugation of the non-rich to give everything to the rich (wealth, power, rights, etc). Unemployment will do nothing but increase wherever Republicans have power. I made a video about unemployment, and how we can fix it. It’s at my YouTube channel Zarrakan, and here’s the link:

    Watch it, share it, and join the fight against those who want to kill all of us with destructive social policies.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Far more bats and every other type of extant life will be devastated by climate destabilisation. Wind turbines, if we are smart, will be a temporary measure until some truly safe energy source is discovered. In any case these sorts of figures, in regard to birds, have been debunked as a small fraction of those killed by cars, collisions with buildings, shooters, by domestic cats etc. I await the debunking of this scare story concerning bats. And how is it that the Right only exhibit any concern over animal deaths when it allows them to smear renewable energy?

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    You’re completely correct. The Right’s project has clearly been to introduce a global system of neo-feudalism, with the insatiably greedy and amorally destructive 1% lording it over the rest. Then, safe with their money, machines and militias, they hope to sit out the coming Chaos, while the population of ‘useless eaters’ who they no longer need to exploit, is massively reduced by the Four Horsemen of a Malthusian Apocalypse. It is staggeringly plain, from the unbridled violence unleashed by military aggression, where millions of civilians have been killed, and the vicious social regression and class vengeance of the ‘austerity’ programs throughout the world, that the Right simply hates other people, fears them and has no compunction whatsoever in destroying their lives, economically, socially or physically. This system is clearly unsustainable, with economic, political and ecological fracture lines opening everywhere. The Great Disintegration is beginning and to imagine that Obama or Romney could or even wish to reverse our course to chaos is madness.

  19. Kent Doering says:

    Goodness, if elected, Mitt is going to hate visiting countries in Europe and being shown their massive wind build out.
    Germany still leads – and 55.000 turbines-inland, coastal onshore, coastal offshore will be installed by 2020 ie. over 160.000 MWh in clean power.
    The rest of the EEC countries are building out like crazy as well.
    Imagine Mitt being invited to visit the massive German offshore wind facility being completed near Helgoland island-way out in the North Sea with constant winds- with a 3.5 GWh output, the equivalent of 4 sixties type small reactors- and then taken back to Berlin on a ride in an ICE high speed bullet train and told it is also powered by wind.
    (goodness ICE trains with windmills on top, ho ho ho ho ho.)
    Of course, they´d take him on a tour of the Opel plant which build´s the “Opel Blitz”- the GM Germany version of the Chevy Volt- the technology was developed by Opel with Federal German and Northrhein Westphalian subsidies by the way.
    Maybe he could be taken on a tour of a farm which uses bio-waste methane recapture to drive fuel cells for heat and hot water.. and told how Germany is building out rural bio waste methane systems – which will deliver another 22 MWh in power.

    Goodness Germans will show him how wind power charges battery powered e-cars. (Windmill on top of the car so to speak, ho ho ho.)
    Of course,we could also show him sane tax policies which favour retention and expansion of domestic industry instead of exporting jobs abroad.

    Somebody could explain to him that with tax write offs and feedback tarif supports, etcetera, the “sustainability” sector has grown to become the biggest sector in the German gross national product, even surpassing the automotive industry this year, and will grow to be 20% of the German gross national product by 2020. Wind is a big part of that.

    Of course, that is if he is elected. As an ex-pat working in the German sustainability sector, I`ll vote where my best self interests are- bnamely for Barack Obama.

  20. Crease says:

    “As the Des Moines Register reports, federal policy uncertainty is forcing companies to move activity outside the American market”.How many of these outside markets is Mittens and his cronies invested in,talk about screwing over the middle class.This just shows how out of touch Mittens really is and what kind of business man he truly is and how he’ll actually be if he wins in November!!!!!!!

  21. Jc says:

    Romney is on Koch. He owes them all the oil and coal that their glutinous hands can grab. Wind, clean energy resources compete with Koch. Just read the Grover Norquist statement–they just want a signator for their interests. Romney has no spine.