It’s official. If elected president, Mitt Romney will let the production tax credit (PTC) for wind power expire at the end of this year. President Obama has been asking Congress to extend the PTC before it expires.
Here’s how the Romney campaign characterizes the candidate’s opposition to wind power, “He will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits.”
Boondoggle? Really Governor Romney? How can Romney characterize clean, reliable and growing source of electricity that employs more than 70,000 workers all across this country as a boondoggle? Well, he can because his funders demand it. The Koch Brother’s front group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), is waging a nutty, fact-free war against renewable energy. To fight that war, AFP conscripts all Republican candidates for office with this warning not to go AWOL on the issue – “if you…buy into green energy or you play footsie on this issue, you do so at your political peril. “
So, Romney, who vigorously supported renewable energy when he was governor of Massachusetts, turns coat and falls in line as a good foot soldier in the Koch Brother’s anti-clean energy jihad.
By taking a position against the PTC, Romney effectively throws half of the 70,000 jobs in the wind energy industry under the bus, and that includes about 4,000 jobs here in Pennsylvania. The uncertainty over the extension of the PTC has already led to the cancellation of planned wind projects in Pennsylvania, and Gamesa, a wind project developer and manufacturer of wind turbine components, has furloughed 165 workers at its Pennsylvania plants. There are at least 15 facilities in Pennsylvania manufacturing components for the wind industry. The extension of the PTC would guarantee growth in the wind industry with the construction of wind projects fueling demand for components and creating jobs for construction workers.
Wind power is currently providing about four percent of the nation’s electricity. In Texas, wind power generates more than 17 percent of the Lone Star State’s electricity on some days and five other states, South Dakota, Iowa, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wyoming, get 10 percent of their electricity from wind power. Wind-powered electricity is pollution-free and doesn’t need a drop of water. And the wind is free fuel.
President Obama wisely wants to help the wind industry grow so it can be employing 100,000 workers by 2016 and generating a growing percentage of our electricity from non-polluting wind power. Meanwhile, Romney, whose positions on issues changes with the wind, will just tack blindly rightward at the expense of good-paying American jobs.