Branstad urges renewed PTC for wind

Source: Dan Piller • Des Moines Register • Posted: Friday, February 3, 2012

Iowa governor Terry Branstad has joined Kansas governor Sam Brownback in a letter urging congress to renew the production tax credit for wind energy production that is scheduled to expire at the end of this  year.

“Wind an American success story”

The Midwestern governors said “our states have experienced the economic benefits of wind first hand,” said the letter, addressed to the Senate-House conference committee.

The PTC has been attached to the newest version of the Payroll Tax cut, to be debated later this month. Wind interests say that wind equipment providers and operators need to have the new law in place at least by the end of the first half of this year in order to secure financing for projects beyond this year.

The letter stated “few, if any developers have made plans for 2013.” One study has predicted a 50 percent loss of jobs at wind production facilities if the tax credit is not renewed.

The American Wind Energy Association said the U.S. wind industry installed just over 6,810 megawatts in 2011, 31 percent higher than in 2010, and has more than 8,300 MW under construction and those developers who have the cash and financing in hand work to finish before the credit expires.

Among those still building is MidAmerican Energy of Des Moines, with projects totaling 407 megawatts in Marshall, Tama, Guthrie, Audubon and Adair counties that are to be completed by year-end.

Iowa is the nation’s second largest wind production state, scheduled to have more than 4,200 megawatts installed by the end of 2012. The state also is home to wind equipment plants at Fort Madison, West Branch, Cedar Rapids and Newton that employ about 2,000 workers.