WASHINGTON, DC –(ENEWSPF)–September 14, 2012. This week, Molded Fiber Glass, a wind turbineblade manufacturer in Aberdeen, South Dakota laid off 92 of their 370 employees due to uncertainty around the renewal of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy. These latest layoffs bring the total number of jobs lost in the wind industry due to layoffs, furloughs and canceled projects since the beginning of 2012 to 2,299.
According to data compiled by the Sierra Club, 15 companies across 14 states have already threatened layoffs, announced layoffs, or canceled projects due to uncertainty around the wind industry tax credit.
“It is disgraceful that Republican leadership in Congress is playing politics with Americans’ jobs,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. “Wind energy is replacing dirty fossil fuels across the country, but that clearly doesn’t sit well with the Big Polluters that are bankrolling these Republicans. Instead of standing up for American workers, Republican leadership is bowing to these special interests and turning a blind eye to the thousands of jobs that are on the line.”
If the PTC is allowed to expire at the end of this year, layoffs in the wind industry will only accelerate. Current projections from the American Wind Energy Association show that approximately 37,000 jobs are expected to be lost if the PTC is not renewed. Companies like Molded Fiber Glass are counting on the PTC’s renewal in order to bring employees back to work.
“While South Dakota’s congressional delegation, including Rep. Kristie Noem and Senator John Thune, have spoken out in favor of the tax credit, it’s clear they have not done enough,” said Brune. “Actions speak louder than words, and so far Congress has failed to act.”
Today, more than 75,000 jobs are supported by the wind industry across all fifty states. The price of wind power has been steadily decreasing, and when the environmental and health costs of burning dirty fossil fuels are taken into account, wind is already cheaper than energy sources like coal. Meanwhile, wind generation continues to grow across the country — Iowa and South Dakota currently generate 20 percent of their electricity from wind power, and with the right policies in place, the wind industry is on track to produce 20 percent of America’s electricity by 2030. Last month the wind industry hit a historic milestone when it reached 50 gigawatts of capacity online, the equivalent of powering nearly 13 million American homes.