GOP Governor Schools Romney On Wind: ‘Get Out Here In The Real World To Find Out What’s Really Going On’

Days after Mitt Romney’s campaign announced his opposition to extending the wind production tax credit, Romney campaigned in Colorado, a swing state that supported 4,000-5,000 wind jobs in 2011. He included one gratuitous mention of renewable energy in his speech that ranked energy as his top priority, saying “I like renewables.” How he plans to grow renewables is unclear, since the production tax credit supports up to 37,000 wind jobs, and is set to expire at the end of 2012.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad had harsh words for Romney’s anti-wind position, which would affect the state’s 7,000 wind jobs:

“It needs to be continued, not forever, but it does need to be continued for a while and the result is it’s been a very good thing for Iowa in terms of 20 percent of our energy is now generated by wind,” Branstad said.

“We have a lot of farmers that receive rent from having wind turbines on their property and we have a lot of jobs associated with it.” […]

Branstad blamed “confusion” in the Romney campaign for Romney’s stand against the tax break for wind energy production. […]

“They don’t understand,” Branstad said. “You’ve got a bunch of people that have put that website together that are bunch of east coast people that need to get out here in the real world to find out what’s really going on.”

Republicans in wind states like Iowa, Utah, and Colorado are seemingly in denial on where Romney stands:

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA) said: “I think people that didn’t know what they were doing said it, because he was over in Poland — he obviously wasn’t thinking about wind energy. I don’t think it’s going to stand. … I don’t think that that’s the real position of the party because they said that they were going to consult me on this stuff, and they haven’t gotten my view.”

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT), quoted in the Wall Street Journal: ”It’s just one of the things that is still a little cloudy in my mind as to where he really does stand on it.” Mr. Hatch said he thinks that a phase-out of the tax credit–instead of outright elimination–”might be more consistent with Gov. Romney’s feelings anyway as he looks at it thoroughly.”

REP. TOM LATHAM (R-IA) said Romney’s position reflects “a lack of full understanding of how important the wind energy tax credit is for Iowa and our nation. It’s the wrong decision. Wind energy represents one of the most innovative and exciting sectors of Iowa’s economy.”

Romney’s announcement may have initially derailed congressional negotiations on extending the credit, though a bipartisan panel of Senators included a possible extension today.