"I'm cautiously optimistic," Chesshir said of his pending visit.
Chesshir and other stakeholders believe Congress' inability to pass tax credits for the clean energy industry has put Arkansas' wind energy sector in limbo, or in some cases is causing it to falter.
Earlier this year, LM Wind Power announced it was laying off more than 200 employees. And since last fall, Mitsubishi's ambitious plans to operate a $100 million wind turbine assembly plant in Fort Smith have come to a halt, as reported in the Southwest Times Record on April 2. The article states Mitsubishi has decided to "moth ball" the plant altogether.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe has for months made it clear he thinks Congress should extend the tax credits.
Congress and President Obama are currently grappling with how to deal with the "fiscal cliff" regarding the deficit and government borrowing. If they fail to reach a compromise by Dec. 31, automatic budget cuts will kick-in.
Chesshir says if Congress decides to extend the tax credit for another 12 months, that will help wind energy in Arkansas but it won't do enough.
"It doesn't allow for additional investment and infrastructure and people over the long term," he said.
Chesshir is heading to D.C. as part of Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy, a coalition of chambers from various states that are pushing Congress to renew the tax credits.