Wind Energy Leader Speaks Out About Tax Credit Extensions After Siemens Layoffs

Source: Channel 9 Eyewitness News • Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012

Wind: It powers 1 out of every 5 light bulbs in your home but it’s being threatened by layoffs and a possible end to its federal Production Tax Credit.

Within 50 miles of the small town of Alta, IA is almost 1,000 wind turbines. And in that town, is Rob Hach and his consulting company.

Rob Hach, CEO of Anemometry Specialists said, “Wind industry is jobs. Lots of jobs for Iowa, lots of jobs for rural America where a lot of these manufacturing plants are located.”

But on Tuesday, Siemens’ Wind Power, a leader in turbine manufacturing, announced more than 1,000 layoffs, 400 in Iowa.

And Hach says, this is just the beginning.

“There’s predicted to be 35,000 people laid-off if we don’t get the extension on the production tax credit,” said Hach.

Hach, along with many wind energy leaders, blames the layoffs on debate over extending the federal Production Tax Credit that expires at the end of this year.

With the tax credit, wind farmers do not have to pay taxes on energy produced by the turbines.

It adds up to $3 billion a year in tax credits, but the wind industry argues that it gives back between $10-$20 billion in direct investment.

Now, you may remember Hach. He was the “Republican For Obama” who introduced the President at his rally in Sioux City.

President Obama supports extending the tax credit and denounces opponent Mitt Romney for calling wind energy “imaginary.”

While Romney is opposed to extending the credit, not all Republicans agree.

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said, “The only thing that I have been successful on is, we do have a tax bill, out of the Finance Committee, and I do have the extension to the wind energy tax credit in it.”

But Senator Grassley does not expect the package, containing extensions to 50-60 other credits, to go before the House before Congress recesses.