A 250-MW wind power project can create 1,100 jobs and add tens of millions of dollars in new taxes and other benefits to the community where it’s located, according to two reports announced Sept. 12 by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
One study “American Wind Farms: Breaking Down the Benefits from Planning to Production,” looks at wind power’s impact on manufacturing, construction engineering and management.
A second study looks at the secondary impact of wind energy. It’s called: “At Wind Speed: How the U.S. Wind Industry is Rapidly Growing Our Local Economies.” The report profiles four communities from Ohio to Oregon that have benefitted from the wind industry.
NRDC and other wind advocates are seeking to make the economic case for the industry as the clock clicks down on the expiration of the production tax credit (PTC) in Congress.
Today, wind farms generate about 50,000 MW of clean, renewable energy – the equivalent of the energy produced by 12 Hoover Dams – and the wind industry employs about 75,000 Americans, the NRDC found. Wind energy production has increased by more than 170% in the past four years alone.
Yet the industry’s growth and promise is now facing potential disaster, because Congress has not renewed the 2.2-cent per kilowatt hour PTC that’s set to expire at the end of the year. The Senate is expected to take up the PTC within days.
“The case is clear,” said Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. “The wind energy industry supports jobs and drives economic development. It’s time for Congress to make extending the bi-partisan wind PTC a top priority,” Bennet said in the NRDC statement.