Two major wind turbine projects in Pennsylvania have been canceled, threatening jobs as similar projects nationwide are in danger due to the potential end of a federal tax credit program.
Iberdrola Renewables said it won’t build the 64 wind turbines it had planned to build in Western Pennsylvania’s mountains, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
. Company spokesman Paul Copleman said without the federal Production Tax Credits, which expire at the end of this year, many other such projects might be in danger.
Layoffs have already started on Pennsylvania’s projects. Copleman said the tax credits drive job creation and are a critical component of his company’s efforts.
The credits provide wind turbine companies 1.8 cents per kilowatt hour to produce renewable energy, and have spurred the growing industry. Congress, though, has allowed the credits to lapse in the past, in 1999, 2001 and 2003, before taking action to revive them.
Ellen Carey, a Wind Energy Association spokeswoman, said without the credits, wind industry employment nationwide could fall from 75,000 people to 37,000, but if Congress extends the credits, employment could top 100,000, as more than half of all the large turbine parts are American made.
However, while some environmentalists embrace wind energy as a clean source of power, others want the turbine construction to stop because of the impact on wildlife, forests, and watersheds.
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