My name is Vicky Hurley. I’m a Virginian proud to be a part of America’s booming wind industry, now supplying almost 4% of the nation’s electric supply. At our facility in Salem VA, we make control systems for GE Energy’s wind turbines. It’s a good paying union job with a decent wage and benefits but unfortunately Congress is keeping jobs like mine at risk.
Certain members of Congress are refusing to bring the Production Tax Credit (PTC) to a vote. The PTC is a tax incentive that rewards developers who actually put wind energy electrons on the electric grid. It’s a critical incentive that ensures wind energy’s continued growth and all the promise of good jobs like mine. The wind industry stands to lose over 37,000 jobs if the PTC is not renewed by December 31st. Already manufacturers like my employer, GE Energy, have warned of a slowdown in production and as employees we are concerned that this could cost us jobs down the line.
Today, over 60% of a wind turbine’s parts are made right here in America, up from 25% in 2005. Wind power can help revive U.S. manufacturing in one of the world’s newest boom industries, and supply millions more Americans with clean energy and clean energy jobs. But Congress has to act and act NOW to support and protect this growing industry!
Congress’ failure to act has already cost Virginia two future wind projects. Gamesa canceled its pilot project to build what would have been the Atlantic’s first offshore wind turbine project off Virginia’s Eastern Shore. And Invenergy has delayed its long-awaited wind farm project in Roanoke until at least 2015, specifically citing uncertainty surrounding PTC renewal.
Senators Webb and Warner, and many of our Virginia House representatives say they support the need for more jobs, energy security and rebuilding American manufacturing. Yet we have no commitment from most of them to support renewal of the stand-out incentive program that has contributed to solid onshore wind industry growth but also is critical to launching our Virginia offshore wind industry and the thousands of jobs its build-out brings to the Commonwealth.
Vicky L. Hurley
President, Industrial Division of the Communications Workers of America, Local 82161