In May, Gov. Terry Branstad and officials of MidAmerican Energy Co. announced plans for the largest economic development investment in Iowa history: A $1.9 billion wind energy project involving the addition of 656 new wind turbines.
According to leaders, the project will generate as much as 1,050 megawatts of power in the state by 2015, create 48 permanent jobs and 460 construction jobs over two years, provide $360 million in additional property tax revenue over the next 30 years, produce $3.2 million in annual payments to landowners and reduce future electricity rates for MidAmerican customers by up to $10 million per year by 2017.
For this boost to the state’s economy and energy picture by MidAmerican, Iowans can thank, in large measure, the federal wind energy production tax credit.
So valuable to growth of wind energy in Iowa and elsewhere, this tax credit (2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated) is set to expire at the end of the month. Again this year, we support renewal of the credit and urge Iowa’s congressional delegation to do the same.
Failure to renew, we fear, would have a devastating impact on a promising industry.
Here in Iowa, the stakes are high. The wind energy industry in our state currently employs