Every time the tax credit has expired, the wind industry has gone into virtual hibernation – and that’s the forecast again from the American Wind Energy Association. It says 37,000 jobs could be lost if the PTC doesn’t gain an extension, and soon.
The PTC might seem an unlikely player in a national election focused on the state of the economy, but in what could be harrowingly tight states, even shifting a very small percentage of votes could make a real difference. That’s because in some states — in Iowa, for instance — wind is seen as a jobs issue, and it’s very popular: Public Opinion Strategies, which polls for Republican candidates, reported recently [PDF] that in the Hawkeye State, “More than half of voters (57%), including 41% of Republicans and 59% of Independents, would be less likely to vote for a candidate for President if that candidate did not support expanding American wind power generation.”
Colorado is another swing state where a strong anti-wind stand like Romney’s could be a factor. There, the Denver Post noted Monday that Vestas has said it would likely be forced to lay off most of its Colorado workers – 1,700 people at facilities in Brighton, Windsor and Pueblo – if the tax credit isn’t extended. In Colorado, like Iowa, support for wind is bipartisan; Republican Reps. Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton have both come out in favor of the PTC.