A boom in wind energy jobs is at stake as the election looms and candidates debate a tax credit.
The wind industry has seen a boon in recent years, but that might all change with this years election. Almost a third of all power that was put on to the grid in 2011 was a result of wind power. That was a huge jump from 2010, and it gave the United States the energy to provide more than 10 million houses with electricity. Those invested in wind power were particularly happy with the results, although the, had a lot to do with the increase. This initiative, created to benefit wind power, will be cut before 2013 if nothing changes.
With the presidential election nearing, the Production Tax Credit has turned into a key point for both nominees. President Obama would like to see the PTC continue during the next presidential term; at that point, it is thought that wind power will no longer need a tax credit in order to be competitive in the energy market. However, on the flip side of the coin, Republicans are in favor of cutting the tax credit even as the amount of wind power generated is expected to increase in 2012.
If the PTC is cut, the gains made with wind power will likely fall by the wayside, which means that jobs will be lost. Currently, more than 70,000 people work to create this form of energy. More than 30,000 will lose their jobs if the Protection Tax Credit is not in place for another presidential term. If, however, it is allowed to continue, tens of thousands of jobs could be added to the industry, and many homes, such as those in the Glen Cove real estate area, could find themselves the beneficiaries of wind power.
In addition to wind power, solar energy is a growing market as well. Although it has not been able to generate the same number of megawatts as wind energy has, it is employing many more people, and the number of jobs in this industry now tops more than 100,000. Solar energy has its own tax credit, although it receives less money than wind power does, and the credit is not scheduled to be cut this year. Solar panel prices have recently dropped significantly, making it more affordable for homeowners to generate solar power, but it has been hard for manufacturers to keep up with inexpensive overseas production. As a result, several U.S. businesses were forced to close.
Green energy has the potential to generate many more jobs throughout our country. It is important that we do not lose our momentum in this industry, and keeping the PTC in place is a great way to begin.
Image credit: Michał Sacharewicz