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Congressional inaction stalling wind industry

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 15:51:33 CDT
By: Charlie Schlenker

Wind power advocates gathered in Normal are urging Congress to renew the production tax credit for wind farms. Larry Flowers is with the industry group the American Wind Energy Association.

"We already have announcements by ten major ffolks in the supply chain of layoffs and we anticipates that if the PTC is not passed that we'll lose maybe 37,000 jobs over the next six months."

Flowers says wind farm projects require two years of lead time and orders have fallen off as the end of year expiration approaches on the tax credit. In an election year, he says, it is hard to get legislation passed. Flowers says five years ago the U-S imported 80% of components and now 65% comes from in country manufacturing. Dave Loomis of ISU's Center for Renewable Energy says two projects in McLean and Livingston Counties are on hold which would produce about 6,300 construction jobs and 250 long term jobs. He says the impact statewide is larger.

"And if all those planned projects statewide were built it could mean another 12,700 jobs and millions of dollars more to the local economies through payments to landowners and through property tax revenue."

ISU's study of wind farm impacts shows 800 long term Illinois jobs and nearly $6 billion in state economic impact over the next quarter century from wind farms already built.

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