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By CER News Desk on Sep 21, 2012 with 4 responses

Wind Power Layoffs Abound as Industry Threatened by Tax Credit Expiration

With a nearly $1 billion government tax credit for the industry in doubt, the wind energy sector in the United States is on the brink of elimination, putting both thousands of jobs and the goal of promoting sustainable energy at risk.

In existence since 2008, the tax credit is aimed at helping startups in the wind energy industry to get on their feet, allowing them access to the funds that they need to be successful in the face of stiff competition from both other energy sources and undercutting by their Chinese counterparts. Those challenges have seen about 10,000 jobs disappear in the past four years as wind energy companies shrink in order to survive, making the potential elimination of the tax credit when it comes up for renewal again on December 31, 2012 a crisis-level concern for those invested in the industry. (See also: Do Government Subsidies Ever Pay Off?)

The concerns stem from the polarized positions that the two presidential candidates have taken, with Barack Obama supporting the continuation of the credit and Mitt Romney promising to abolish it. While the wind energy sector holds its breath leading up to the election on November 6, opponents of the tax credit are hard at work lobbying for its removal.

“Big Wind has had extension after extension after extension,” said Benjamin Cole, spokesperson for the partly oil-financed American Energy Alliance, a group that has been actively lobbying against the tax credit. “The government shouldn’t be continuing to prop up industries that never seem to be able to get off their training wheels.”

An announcement from wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa earlier this month revealing that 92 of its 115 workers had been laid off was followed by news this week that German-based turbine company Siemens would layoff 945 of its American employees, putting intense pressure on the debate while dashing some of the remaining hope held by those waiting for a call to come back to work. (See also: Wind Power Continues Trend of Rapid Growth in U.S.)

“We are all really sad,” said Miguel Orobiyi, a mechanical assembler at the Gamesa plant for almost five years before being laid off earlier this year. “I hope they call us back because they are really, really good jobs.”

  1. By stan on September 22, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Ya, that’s right Cole…you tell ‘em……and while you’re at it….tell your kids and grandkids how you’re trying to shoot efforts to preserve the quality of our planet in the foot….what a self absorbed punk. Training wheels? You’ve certainly got a false sense of entitlement, don’t ya? Ok, let’s do the Cheney thing….rape the country because you’re a republican…..I’m an independent, because the bipartisan “system” is the biggest waste of time, money and goodwill in the country, and all because of people like you.

  2. By notKit P on September 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    “Ok, let’s do the Cheney thing….rape the country because you’re a republican…..I’m an independent,”


    Gosh that does not sound like an independent.


    Wind did real well in Texas under Governor Bush and in the US under POTUS Bush thanks to RPS and PTC.


    I think we should be continue building wind farms until it becomes obvious that there are no longer good wind resources in the US or that the cost of keeping them running is too high. While a PTC favors states with good wind, lower natural gas prices favors everyone.

  3. By Meg on September 23, 2012 at 2:00 am

    People near wind projects across America have seen how dangerous and destructive these industrial-scale energy facilities are. The industry has a scary track record of turbine collapses, blades hurled off, explosions, fires, stray voltage and infrasound making people sick. The blades kill, maim and torture birds and bats.  The environmental devastation is horrific and the BLM is not enforcing laws to protect people nearby from dust, toxins, flooding and other problems caused by irresponsible wind developers.  Good riddance to these shysters!  I’m an environmentalist but these are not green. Rooftop solar produces better paying jobs for solar installers with none of this devastation!

  4. By notKit P on September 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    We face many hazards in the power industry including ‘explosions, fires’.  Those who advocate making their own electricity ignore that when the ‘explosions, fires’ occurs it will be in their home near their children. 


    Gravity is another hazard that every power project has.  You fall while installing panels or even drop them on some one.


    “I’m an environmentalist but these are not green.”


    Do you have some kind of training that helps you evaluate which source of power has lower environmental impact?

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