Texas League of Conservation Voters: Wind Power Advocates Call On Congress to Renew Tax Credits

37,000 American Jobs At Risk

AUSTIN, Texas, Sept. 18, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With a key wind energy tax credit set to expire at the end of the year, wind energy advocates delivered thousands of letters to Senator John Cornyn urging him to support extension of the credit in order to protect Texas jobs and the environment. An estimated 37,000 Americans employed by the wind industry could lose their jobs if Congress fails to act.

"Wind energy in Texas has been a true success story, creating jobs, saving water and reducing pollution," said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. "If Congress doesn't renew this tax credit, they'll take the wind out of the sails of a proven job creating industry."

Texas leads the nation in wind energy, which generated about 8.5% of the state's electricity last year. In 2011, wind energy in Texas employed about 9,000 people, reduced pollution equal to that of 3 million cars and avoided use of 9.5 billion gallons of water.

"Wind energy is providing local jobs and economic development at a time when we need it most, and is helping to provide a cleaner, healthier future for all Texans," said Jeffrey Clark, Executive Director of The Wind Coalition, a non-profit association representing developers, owners and operators of wind farms, turbine and component part manufacturers, law and engineering firms and public interest advocates. "The development of new clean energy projects and the continuation of existing projects hang in the balance as Congress wavers on the renewal of critical wind energy tax credits."

With states like Texas leading the way, wind power is on its way to being cost-competitive with traditional energy sources. In fact, the price of wind has dropped 90 percent since 1980. And the jobs are staying here; 60 percent of a wind turbine's value is now produced in the United States, up from 25 percent in 2005. Uncertainty over whether Congress will renew the Production Tax Credit has led companies to freeze hiring or even lay off staff, as wind developer Vestas recently did in Houston.

The groups called on Texas Senators Cornyn and Hutchison to support extension of the tax credit. David Weinberg of the Texas League of Conservation Voters delivered over 2,000 letters from Texans to Cornyn's office, urging the Senator to reconsider his vote against the tax credit earlier this summer. In addition, almost 20,000 people have signed an online petition urging the Senator to support the Production Tax Credit.

"This tax credit is too important to Texas' economy to play games with," said Weinberg. "Voters in Texas support in-state clean energy jobs. It is time for Cornyn to listen to his constituents and support an extension of the Production Tax Credit."

"The economic and environmental imperatives for investing in renewable energy are clearer now than they ever have been," said Dave Cortez of the Blue Green Alliance. "With our economy finally gaining stability, the challenge has become to invest in industries that will mean real jobs now, with a promise for durability and future growth."

Media contact for TLCV: David Weinberg, (512) 477-4424 or dweinberg@tlcv.org

For information on Environment Texas - Luke Metzger, (512) 479-0388

For information on The Wind Coalition - Jeffrey Clark, (512) 651-0291

For information on Blue Green Alliance - Dave Cortez, (512) 736-7600

The Texas League of Conservation Voters works to preserve and enhance the quality of life of Texans by making conservation a top priority with Texas elected officials, political candidates and voters. Find us online at http://www.tlcv.org and follow us on Twitter @tlcv.

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The following files are available for download:

wkr0006.pdf TLCV, Wind Advocates Press Release: Production Tax Credit