Protecting Clean Energy Progress During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing unprecedented challenges to the U.S. healthcare system, disruptions to daily life across the country, and deep uncertainty across the economy.

Supply chain disturbances and massive public health interventions are extending these obstacles to the U.S. wind energy industry as well. Protecting American jobs and economic investment and ensuring the safety of wind’s 120,000-strong workforce remain our primary objectives. 

Fortunately, the Administration and Congress can make three simple policy changes that will help the energy sector and save American jobs:

  1. Provide alternative financing options to the tax equity market – reductions in the availability of tax equity caused by the pandemic have resulted in a situation where credit-worthy wind projects need additional options for securing construction capital. A fix referred to as “direct pay” that allows developers to monetize federal tax credits will provide developers with access to the capital needed to continue investing and creating new jobs.
  2. Preserve U.S. progress on offshore wind by extending the sector’s “safe harbor” period  – the additional time will help offshore wind project developers accommodate delays caused by the pandemic. This move will help protect up to 83,000 jobs and $57 billion in investment by 2030.
  3. Allow for safe harbor considerations to all land-based and offshore wind projects that demonstrate a continuous effort to make progress towards completion – to qualify for the federal tax credits, wind projects must demonstrate ongoing progress towards completion. Given the rapidly changing circumstances, allowing projects to show progress through “continuous efforts” will provide flexibility to accommodate COVID-19 delays.

Without Congressional action on these critical issues, more than 25 gigawatts of wind projects are at risk, representing $35 billion in investment. Rural communities across the country could see a loss of over $8 billion in state and local tax revenue and land lease payments to farmers and other private landowners. And at a time when America will need to be getting back to work, more than 35,000 wind jobs – from manufacturing to skilled trades – could be lost.

How can you help?

As our country and the world manages the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, the American wind industry stands with our communities in support. To learn more about the American Wind Energy Association’s response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, visit www.awea.org/covid-19.

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