The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced the launch of WindTV, a new showcase of video profiles of Americans whose lives have been positively impacted by the wind energy industry. “The wind turbines industry is a tremendous American success story," said Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA. “Wind power is creating a new American manufacturing sector and jumpstarting rural economic development. But like every industry, wind energy is ultimately about individuals. These videos will help put names and faces on the $10 to $20 billion wind farm invests in the U.S. economy each year as well as the 75,000 U.S. wind energy jobs at more than 400 factories in 42 states.”
This week’s profile features Tim Hemphill, a lifelong hog, corn and soybean farmer from Milford, IA. Hemphill is now benefitting from a new cash crop – wind. Since leasing a portion of his farmland for a wind farm, Hemphill has increased his financial security and diversified his sources of income. “Leasing land to wind power helps keep our family farm in the black,” Hemphill states.
Iowa is a national leader in wind energy, receiving a greater percentage of its electricity from wind power (20%) than any other state. Iowa wind turbines projects also produce lease payments for landowners and increase the tax base of communities. In Iowa these lease payments total $11 million per year and an additional $16.5 million in annual property tax payments.
Iowa has also attracted more major wind energy industry manufacturing than any other state, helping fuel 4,000 to 5,000 Iowa jobs in wind energy. Two turbine manufacturers, two major blade manufacturers and a tower manufacturer have all opened facilities in the state. These facilities have created investment and opportunity throughout the wind energy supply chain for Iowa manufacturers. At least nine manufacturers in Iowa are suppliers to the wind industry with an investment of $300 million.
Wind power is helping communities across America create economic opportunity. Nationally, wind energy has accounted for more than a third of all new electric generation in the U.S. since 2007 and is on track to account for 20% of total U.S. generation by 2030.
A key federal tax incentive has been integral to this success. However, the Production Tax Credit is set to expire next year, putting these jobs and this market at risk. Changing the tax code to in effect raise taxes on companies creating American jobs would be a mistake that would cost our economy exactly the sort of manufacturing jobs we need more of today.