President Obama presses for renewable energy manufacturing
Today, President Obama is visiting a wind manufacturer, TPI Composites, in Newton, Iowa.
Newton has had it rough in recent years. For a long time, Maytag manufactured washers and dryers in Newton. Unfortuately, 1,900 employees lost their jobs after the company was acquired by Whirlpool in 2006.
Thankfully, Newton has experienced an uptick in jobs lately. TPI Composites, which manufactures wind blades for major turbine manufacturers, built a plant in Newton in 2008. Today, the company employs more than 700 workers.
TPI Composites would point to the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) as one key to their success. The PTC provides a 2.2 cent per kilowatt-hour tax credit for the first ten years of electricity production from utility-scale turbines.
Congress has vacillated on extending or retiring the PTC, though, and the President is expected to use his visit to TPI as an opportunity to urge Congress to pass legislation that will extend the PTC. He will also press for an expansion of the 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit that supports American-made clean energy manufacturing.
There are good rasons to push for a larger U.S. wind turbine industry. Wind component production supports nearly 20,000 direct jobs along with over 30,000 manufacturing jobs in its supply chain.
The Alliance for American Maufacturing (AAM) has repeatedly pressed for federal effort to boost renewable energy production in the U.S. Specifically, AAM's "Plan to Save Manufacturing" calls for efforts to:
- Expand and make permanent clean energy manufacturing tax credits and industrial energy efficiency grants to allow America to lead on green job creation
- Link federal loan guarantees for new energy infrastructure projects, including nuclear, wind, solar, other renewable energy sources, as well as the smart grid, with expanding domestic supply chains
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