At a campaign stop on Thursday afternoon, May 24, U.S. President Barack Obama was scheduled to visit TPI Composites, a manufacturer of blades for wind turbines with operations in Newton, Iowa, and the perfect backdrop for a speech that would push his green energy agenda.
After a tour of the facilities, the President was expected to make brief remarks, during which he would urge Congress to act on its “To Do List” from the White House - specifically highlighting the need to invest in clean energy.
Obama has been urging Congress to pass legislation that will extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) to support American jobs and manufacturing in the wind sector.
He has plenty of backing from the industry: Earlier this week, a 14-member U.S. wind coalition met at the White House – intent on advancing a bipartisan effort to extend the wind energy Production Tax Credit before Congress recesses for the summer.
Among their talking points: An extension of the PTC could save thousands of jobs – as many as 75,000 according to a study commissioned by the American Wind Energy Association – and stabilize finances in the wind industry, beset by boom-and-bust cycles.
“As you know and you’ve heard us say, the ‘To-Do’ list is filled with measures that have traditionally enjoyed support from not just Democrats, but also Republicans,” Press Secretary Jay Carney told the media in a briefing before the trip. “We discussed one of them yesterday – the production tax credit – where we had a CEO from a company out of Elgin, Illinois – Winergy [a manufacturer of wind turbine components] – Mr. Royer, who talked I think passionately about the need to extend that production tax credit and the fact that Republicans as well as Democrats have always supported it.”
Under federal law, the PTC provides an income tax credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour for the generation of electricity from utility scale turbines. This incentive was created under the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The PTC applies for the first 10 years of electricity production. It is set to expire on December 31, 2012.
TPI Composites has been a “poster child” for the Administration’s clean energy manufacturing initiative since Obama launched the program in a televised speech from the White House on January 8, 2010.
“Over 180 projects in over 40 states will receive these tax credits,” the President commented. “And one of them is TPI Composites … Because of these tax credits, TPI Composites will not only be able to expand an existing facility in Newton; they’ll not only be able to build a brand-new facility in Nebraska; they’ll also be able to hire over 200 new workers. And it’s my hope that similar stories will be told in cities and towns across America because of this initiative.”
In an appearance at the Hyatt Regency Denver a day before the Iowa whistle stop, President Obama reinforced that nationwide commitment. “I’m running to make sure that the next generation of high-tech manufacturing takes place in Denver … and Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Charlotte. I don't want to reward businesses that are investing – creating jobs overseas. I want to reward them for investing right here in Colorado, creating jobs right here in the United States of America. That’s the choice in this election.”
The Iowa remarks had not yet been delivered at press time.
Edited by Braden Becker