Wind Energy Tax Credit: More Hot Air or Key Job Creator?

Obama goes to bat for wind energy in Iowa.

Iowa
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As it stands, the uncertainty surrounding whether the PTC will be renewed has already had some wind energy firms paring down their staffs. Last week, four separate producers announced hundreds of layoffs, according to AWEA.

"This isn't 'down the road,'" says Elizabeth Salerno, AWEA director of industry data and analysis. "It's happening right now."

$1.6 billion. The estimated amount that tax credits for wind energy producers will cost the federal government this year. In the face of mounting public debt and giant deficits, opponents say it's time for the industry to stand on its own and stop relying on government handouts to bolster their business.

"[Romney] will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits," Shawn McCoy, a spokesman for Romney's Iowa campaign, told The Des Moines Register last month. "Wind energy will thrive wherever it is economically competitive, and wherever private sector competitors with far more experience than the president believe the investment will produce results."

Meg Handley is a business reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can reach her at mhandley@usnews.com and follow her on Twitter.