A retroactive rule for wind investors in the House tax bill puts at risk rural communities and one of America’s fastest growing jobs
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 15, 2017—Today over 200 companies in the American wind power supply chain delivered a letter to leaders of the tax reform effort in the U.S. House of Representatives asking them to keep their promise to over 100,000 American wind workers.
The letter asks the House to amend H.R. 1 to honor a preexisting bipartisan agreement to phase out the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) from 2015 through 2019. The letter is copied to leaders of the Senate tax reform effort, who these wind businesses say are honoring the preexisting tax reform deal.
The House draft language has created enormous uncertainty for businesses that have already signed contracts to invest billions in U.S. infrastructure based on the rules agreed to in 2015. Analysts project that future wind farm development could be cut by more than half, canceling factory orders and requiring thousands of layoffs. They say there has been a chilling effect on new deals.
"Wind energy went first on tax reform, voluntarily agreeing to a phase-out to give the industry time to adjust," said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. "We support the goal of making America a better place to do business, and this retroactive rule change runs counter to that. Every day that goes by until this flawed House language is fixed reduces business for American workers and factories."
The House version of tax reform so far would threaten 60,000 American jobs and $50 billion in private investment, nearly all of it in rural areas, AWEA estimates. The Senate version, in contrast, would leave intact the orderly phase-out of the wind tax credit, assuring stability for workers.
"Businesses can't go back in time to qualify for financing under the new rules," Kiernan said. "So under the House version they would either suffer a retroactive tax hike, or be forced to walk away and break contracts for manufacturing and construction work that thousands of American workers are counting on."
Fifteen members of the House, led by Rep. David Young (R, IA-3), delivered a letter last week urging their colleagues to return to the existing rules.
Navigant Consulting projects that maintaining stable investment policy through the PTC phase-out will create $85 billion in economic activity and help grow another 50,000 American jobs, including 8,000 more jobs at U.S. factories, through the end of President Trump's first term.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wind techs and solar installers are America's two fastest-growing job descriptions, 2016-2026.
AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry. We represent 1,000 member companies and over 100,000 jobs in the U.S. economy, serving as a powerful voice for how wind works for America. Members include global leaders in wind power and energy development, turbine manufacturing, and component and service suppliers. They gather each year at the Western Hemisphere's largest wind power trade show, the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, next in Chicago, May 7-10, 2018. Find information about wind energy on the AWEA website. Gain insight into industry issues on AWEA's blog, Into the Wind. And please join us on Facebook, and follow @AWEA on Twitter.