Jul 19 2016
Senator Pushed to Successfully Extend Tax Credit Supporting Renewable Energy Workers, Wind Energy Jobs in ND
ROLLA, N.D. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today reinforced the need to continue strong policies that encourage certainty for renewable energy workers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Xcel Energy’s Border Wind Farm. The project created 11 new full-time jobs and is expected to employ about 150 North Dakotans during peak construction.
Heitkamp has long been working to promote policies that encourage companies like Xcel Energy – the nation’s top utility wind energy provider – to invest in states like North Dakota to meet their long-term energy production goals. During the ceremony, Heitkamp, who has long championed proven tools to increase wind and alternative energy development and output like the Production Tax Credit (PTC) to support wind energy development – which she was instrumental in passing a long-term extension of last December – discussed the need for continued certainty for wind-power jobs. Today’s strong investment by Xcel Energy underscores Heitkamp’s work to bolster policies that increase jobs and diversify North Dakota’s energy sector.
“North Dakota is a national model for an all-of-the-above energy strategy, and its partnership with renewable energy leader Xcel Energy is a prime example of a commitment to wind energy generation as part of that strategy," said Heitkamp. “For years, I’ve been working to build up policies that will strengthen and encourage North Dakota’s ability to harness its wealth of renewable energy resources, like wind power, by successfully working to extend production tax credits that help promote certainty and innovation among top wind-energy producers. The partnership between North Dakota and Xcel Energy has been extremely beneficial to both parties, and the Border Wind Farm further strengthens the growing commitment of our state and Xcel Energy to wind energy production. Together, we can continue to harness the full force of our wind power while growing jobs and producing clean energy right here in North Dakota.”
“Xcel Energy customers in North Dakota and across the Upper Midwest will save millions of dollars in lower energy costs because of the Border Winds wind farm," said Laura McCarten, regional vice president, Xcel Energy. “At the same time, it delivers the clean energy our customers want and is a significant step forward in our goal to deliver 35 percent renewable energy to our Upper Midwest customers by 2030. The efforts of North Dakota policy makers like Sen. Heitkamp helped make it possible for Xcel Energy to invest in wind energy production in this state, resulting in jobs and local tax benefits.”
Long an advocate for all of North Dakota’s energy workers and a strong proponent of a diversified national energy strategy, Heitkamp worked for a year and a half to bring both Republicans and Democrats to the table on her bill to lift the nation’s 40-year ban on crude oil exports. The bill, which passed in Congress’ year-end spending bill in December, also contained provisions Heitkamp long pushed for to support prolonged certainty for renewable energy workers across North Dakota – including a five-year retroactive extension of PTC through 2019 which will encourage more energy efficient, job-creating solutions for years to come.
Across North Dakota, up to 3,000 jobs were supported by the wind production industry in 2015 alone.
This visit continues Heitkamp’s strong record of supporting renewable energy businesses by visiting and speaking firsthand with workers on the ground. In April 2015, Heitkamp toured Fargo’s 70-year-old Ulteig Engineers to discuss the direly needed build-out of North Dakota’s energy infrastructure with a particular focus on providing certainty to wind energy industry workers. In January 2014, Heitkamp toured Iberdrola Wind Farm near Rugby and in May 2013, Heitkamp attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Bison Wind Energy Center near New Salem. She also visited an Otter Tail Power Company and NextEra Energy Resources wind farm near Edgeley in October 2014.