Democratic Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet; Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis; and Republican Reps. Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton delivered a letter to the chairmen of the conference committee that is negotiating the payroll tax credit extension, urging them to extend the PTC.
The letter to Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, and Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, called for the payroll tax reduction package to include the wind energy PTC, as well as a way to pay for the tax credit.
"The PTC has been very effective in facilitating new market penetration of wind energy and moving us toward a more diversified and cleaner energy portfolio," the group wrote. "A delay in this extension would do enormous damage to that progress.
"Unless the wind PTC is renewed in the first quarter of this year, new wind energy development projects and the thousands of jobs associated with those projects are predicted to drop off precipitously after 2012," they continued. "This dire situation will be especially pronounced in Colorado, where we manufacture many of the components for wind turbines."
The congressional leaders also emphasized the impact that a failure to extend the PTC would have on jobs both in the state and nationwide.
"Wind-related manufacturing workers will be the first to lose their jobs as developers stop ordering turbines for installation after the PTC ends," they wrote. "Companies with a footprint in Colorado have already started layoffs, and several thousand Colorado jobs could be lost if the PTC isn't extended in the near future."
Colorado renewable energy leaders have also called for an extension of the wind PTC.
"Colorado is a good example of a state that has weathered the economic crisis reasonably well because of the jobs brought to the state by the wind technology and manufacturing industry," noted Christine Shapard, executive director of Colorado Cleantech Industry Association. "We've seen job growth in smaller, component providers, as well as supply-chain partners to the large manufacturers, indicating the breadth of the impact this industry has on the entire state.
"If the United States wants to bring back its manufacturing base – in both small and large companies – the wind industry is one of the best places to start," she added. "We urge Congress to extend the PTC to enable the continued growth of this important industry."