Vestas' Martha Wyrsch: Save the PTC
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Vestas' Martha Wyrsch took her case for the Production Tax Credit to Washington this week.
Martha Wyrsch, the Portland-based president of Vestas-American Wind Technology Inc. testified in front of a U.S. Senate subcommittee Wednesday, to ask for an extension of the renewable energy Production Tax Credit known as the PTC.
"An extension of the PTC is necessary for the continued employment of the 80,000 people working in the U.S. wind industry," Wyrsch told the Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure. "Wind energy has grown dramatically in the past several years, creating a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S., and the PTC has been a significant driver in that growth."
Wyrsch was joined by other renewable energy executives calling for stability in incentive policy to sustain investment in the industry.
The credit, set to expire at the end of 2012, provides a 2.1 cents per kilowatt-hour tax credit to owners of wind farms once they're up and running.
Since 1999, the PTC has received seven short-term extensions and has lapsed three times.
The testimony followed the release of a report earlier this week from Navigant Consulting that suggested that 37,000 U.S. jobs could be axed if the PTC is not extended. On the flip side, Oregon is among the states expected to add jobs — some 10,000 of them — if it is extended.
Wyrsch, who leads the North American operations of Denmark-based Vestas, also asked that the extension be granted immediately rather than waiting until the 11th hour.
Vestas CEO Ditlev Engel warned that the wind energy industry could "fall off a cliff" if the credit isn't extended.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., have introduced legislation to extend the PTC until 2016.
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