DOE Report Highlights Importance of Wind Energy; Bennet Urges Passage of Wind PTC Extension

On the heels of a newly released report by the Energy Department highlighting the significant gains made by the wind industry over the past year, Senator Michael Bennet reiterated the importance of this industry to Colorado’s economy and the pressing need for Congress to pass a wind PTC extension immediately when it resumes session in the fall.

According to the 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report, Colorado is one of the country’s leading wind markets, generating nearly 11 percent of its energy from wind. Nationally, wind power represented nearly a third of all new electric capacity additions and accounted for $14 billion in new investment.  The report also warned that the industry could see a “dramatic slowing” of wind energy deployment in 2013 if the PTC was allowed to expire.

The wind industry accounts for more than 75,000 jobs nationwide, according to industry estimates, including upwards of 6,000 in Colorado alone.

“Here is even more evidence of why it is absolutely imperative to extend the wind energy PTC. An extension will support this vital industry at a crucial point in its development and save thousands of jobs in Colorado and the rest of the country,” Bennet said. “Congress should extend the PTC immediately when it resumes session.”

Bennet has led efforts in Congress to extend the wind energy PTC.  He led eight of the nine members of the Colorado Congressional delegation in a bipartisan letter calling for extension of the tax credit and has introduced two bipartisan amendments with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS), cosponsored by Senator Mark Udall, to extend the PTC.  He has also partnered with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Udall to introduce the American Energy and Job Promotion Act, a bipartisan bill to extend the PTC for wind and several other renewable energy technologies. Earlier this month, he successfully led a bipartisan group of senators urging the Senate Finance Committee to include an extension of the PTC in a tax extenders bill the committee was considering.