With less than 100 days left until the general election, both President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are showing a willingness to defend their positions, including stances on issues that may not relate to many voters come November.
The latest battle is the little-known and expiring Wind Production Tax Credit, which will affect thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado and Iowa. And with Romney on an international tour promoting his business acumen to international leaders, the Obama–Biden reelection committee grouped former Department of Energy Secretary Frederica Pena and former Iowa Governor Chet Culver with Mark Shannahan, former director of the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority and Brent Aldefer, CEO of Community Energy, Inc., on a national press call to reaffirm Obama’s commitment to the workers — and to renewable energy.
“Mitt Romney’s opposition to wind energy investments threatens tens of thousands of American jobs and undermines our nation’s energy independence. He has made it clear that if he were elected president, he would end support for the American wind industry by eliminating the critical wind production tax credit, which encourages entrepreneurs, manufacturers and small businesses to increase homegrown wind energy development, create jobs and reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy,” Culver said. “In fact, Romney’s plan would jeopardize many of the 75,000 American jobs in the wind industry, and layoffs are already beginning across the industry and the country because of uncertainty over the extension of this tax credit. According to one study, if the wind production tax credit expired, as Mitt Romney would let happen, up to 37,000 jobs would be lost within a year.”
The tax credit — which rewards companies 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour for the production of energy from industry-grade wind turbines — is set to expire on December 31.
According to industry lobbyist American Wind Energy Association, the Department of Energy recently reported that Americans can receive 20 percent of all their energy needs via wind technology by 2030; AWEA also says that wind technology can create half a million American jobs.
Culver also referenced a recent Romney editorial in the Columbus Dispatch, in which Romney appears to misquote Obama’s stances on energy, all the while reconfirming drastic regulatory reform.
While wind technology may not resonate much locally, it is a thriving industry in the Midwest and South; 770,000 homes in Minnesota are wind-powered; and in the western part of the state, the wind industry is ramping up, with multiple wind component-building facilities have sprouted up, leading to nearly 4,000 industry-related jobs in Pennsylvania.
“These investments in homegrown energy are making a real difference. It used to be that we had to import most of the roughly 8,000 component parts that go into a modern wind turbine,” read a memo from Culver, outlining the other perks that come with embracing wind as an energy source. “But today, with more than 400 wind-related manufacturing facilities in 43 states, we’re producing more and more of those parts in America. Investments in wind energy have already leveraged an average of $15.5 billion a year in private investment in the U.S.
“President Obama supports extending the wind production tax credit, bringing stability and growth to the wind industry.”