Congress has so far not extended the tax credit for wind energy, resulting in the layoffs of thousands of workers. Communities that a few years ago were elated to attract a promising new industry are left wondering what will the future bring.
Alex Derr had a new house and a son on the way when he landed a coveted job building massive fiberglass wind-turbine blades at a new factory in Fort Madison, Iowa. With well-paid work in a growing industry, he seemed to have it made.
“Having a new family, I thought it was great,” says Mr. Derr, who is in his 20s. “I thought I was getting hired for a career.”
But his career in the wind industry came to an abrupt and premature end in October, when the plant where he worked, owned by Siemens Energy, a German company, let go most of its more than 700 workers. Similar layoffs have affected thousands of workers in communities across the United States. The reason: the impending expiration of a federal tax credit for wind energy.
Despite pleas from wind-industry advocates and politicians in important wind-energy states, Congress has so far not extended the tax credit beyond the end of the year. So on the eve of its demise, workers who thought they had snagged a dream job now find themselves once again looking for employment. Communities that a few years ago were elated to attract a promising new industry are left wondering what will the future bring.
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