The committee should extend the production tax credit to support the 80,000 Americans employed in the U.S. wind industry, the senators wrote in a letter to finance committee chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and ranking member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. A bipartisan coalition of 118 members of the U.S. House sent a similar letter to the House Committee on Financial Services.
Wind energy provides power to more than 15 million American homes, as well as to thousands of farms and businesses, the senators said.
The production tax credit, which Congress renewed at the beginning of 2013, expired in December. The wind industry continues to benefit from the tax credit this year because the credit included wind projects that started in 2013. By contrast, the wind tax credit in 2012 applied to projects finished that year.
Companies such as Denmark-based wind-turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems A/S (OMX: VWS) have benefited from the tax credit. Vestas, which operates factories in Windsor, Brighton and Pueblo, recently announced that it would hire additional workers following record wind-turbine orders in 2013.
A Vestas spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment on efforts to extend the production tax credit.
The tax credit not only benefits large companies such as Vestas, but also to smaller Colorado companies in the wind industry supply chain, Udall spokesman Mike Saccone said.
“There are ripple effects for the tax credit,” he said.