Whelan Bill To Exempt From Sales And Use Tax Materials And Equipment Used To Make Wind Energy Components

Measure to Spur Wind Energy Manufacturing Industry Approved by Senate Environment Committee

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Jim Whelan that would exempt the purchase of materials or equipment used in the manufacturing of wind energy components from the State sales and use tax was unanimously approved by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee today.

“When it comes to renewable energy, New Jersey has done a great job creating a market for this equipment, but we’ve failed to capitalize on the manufacturing side of the equation,” said Senator Whelan, D-Atlantic, and a member of the Environment Committee. “New Jersey is one of the national leaders in the installation of wind turbines and solar equipment, and yet we cede the manufacture of this equipment to facilities outside of our State, and in most cases, outside of our country. We need to do a better job at promoting the manufacturing side of renewable energy equipment, so that we maximize the economic benefit to the State of New Jersey.”

The bill, S-1561, would create an exemption from the State sales tax for the purchase of supplies and equipment needed to manufacture wind turbine components and other parts used to harness wind energy to produce electricity. According to Senator Whelan, the intent of the bill is to promote new manufacturing jobs while also promoting the development of cleaner forms of electricity production within New Jersey. Senator Whelan said that while New Jersey has done a good job at promoting the installation of renewable energy equipment, much of that equipment is produced outside of New Jersey’s borders.

“Renewable energy is clean, it’s cheap, and harnessing and converting renewable energy into electricity represents one of the growth industries in our nation today,” said Senator Whelan. “In recent years, we’ve advanced policies designed to encourage the adoption of renewable energy systems, increasing demand for renewable energy equipment, but we’ve done little to promote the supply-side. I’ve said before that New Jersey should be looking to create a renewable energy cottage industry, in which the equipment is made here, it’s installed here, and the economic benefits stay here.”

Senator Whelan has recently pushed a number of initiatives to help New Jersey’s struggling boat building industry transition into building wind energy components. Among the bills recently sponsored by Senator Whelan is S-1209, which is pending consideration in the Assembly Transportation Committee, which would allow boat manufacturers to qualify for State-backed loans to transition into the renewable energy industry, and S-1267, which is pending in the Senate Budget Committee, which would require New Jersey’s Business Action Centers to aid boat manufacturers in converting their business to manufacture wind energy equipment.

“Our State’s boat manufacturers could easily transition into a rapidly expanding wind energy manufacturing industry, and create new manufacturing jobs for New Jersey residents,” said Senator Whelan. “As we saw with the solar manufacturing industry, if we don’t capitalize now, we will lose these jobs and the economic benefit to New Jersey and its residents to overseas competition. Time is of the essence, and the longer we delay promoting the manufacturing side of renewable energy in the Garden State, the smaller our chance is to create a thriving renewable energy manufacturing sector within New Jersey.”

The bill now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for review, before going to the full Senate for consideration.