Tester fighting for Montana’s wind industry

Senator joins bipartisan call for stable tax system to offer more certainty, create jobs

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is pushing to extend the wind production tax credit to keep Montana’s wind industry growing and to create more jobs in the Big Sky State.

Montana’s wind power capacity was only a single megawatt in 2004, but now Montana wind energy companies generate nearly 400 megawatts of power. 

The wind industry’s recent growth, fueled in part by the tax credit, lowered the cost of wind power more than 90 percent.  Tester said extending the tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of the year, will enable wind companies to keep expanding and to make long-term business decisions. 

“The future of the American wind industry requires a stable tax environment in which to operate,” Tester wrote Senate leaders this week.  “Reauthorizing the wind production tax credit will provide the wind industry with the stability and predictability to plan for the future.”

The wind energy industry employs hundreds of Montanans, jobs that could be at risk if the credit expires.  According to the American Wind Energy Association, tens of thousands of Americans build wind turbines, wind towers, and other industry parts at 400 manufacturing facilities nationwide. 

“Failure to extend the production tax credit will weaken this growing manufacturing sector and destabilize an industry just before it completes its transformation to being cost competitive in the marketplace,” Tester wrote.

As President of the Montana State Senate, Tester was responsible for a state tax credit and a renewable portfolio standard that encouraged the development of wind energy in rural Montana and helped launch the state’s wind industry.

In November, Tester and Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), introduced a bipartisan bill that streamlines permitting for renewable energy projects on public lands.  The measure ensures that funds generated by energy development benefits states, counties, and various conservation efforts.

Tester’s bipartisan letter to Senate leadership is available online HERE.