Colorado Company Keeps Close Eye On Political Fight Over Wind Energy
GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – A battle is under way in Congress over renewing tax credits for wind energy production.
Some companies have already said that without the credits, they could cut up to 1,600 jobs. That includes Vestas, which has several facilities in Colorado. The lack of credits could also hit small Colorado companies which make things like transformers for wind turbines.
One of those companies is SGB, a small manufacturing company which opened in Golden in 2009, right in the middle of the Great Recession.
It was a company hiring while others were laying workers off, but now its future is uncertain because of the debate in Washington.
SGB President Kerwin Stretch said he has business through September — “and then everything falls a cliff, no plans, no forecast.”
Congress refused to extend the wind energy tax credit last month, Sen. Michael Bennet is among those who are fighting to get the extension back on the table.
Critics have said the extension plays favorites in the private sector.
“Anybody who thinks our existing tax code isn’t picking winners and losers hasn’t studied it closely,” Bennet said.
The credit kicks in once a turbine is producing power, but manufacturers say it costs millions of dollars to simply make the turbine.
“This technology, although it’s been around for a couple of decades, has just reached a tipping point where we’re really on edge of making big breakthroughs,” Kerwin said.
Kerwin made it through the recession and doesn’t have any plans to give up, but he does worry that without the tax credit extension, some companies will leave the United States.
“There’s no doubt jobs will be lost without the tax credit,” he said. “The question is how many and will they ever come back.”
Six members of Colorado’s delegation support the extension. The only holdout is Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn from District 4.
President Obama also supports the extension. Bennet blames the failure to get the extension through Congress on election year politics.