The “Fiscal Cliff” bill signed by President Obama includes renewal tax credits for wind energy. Iowa is third in the nation for wind power production.
Wind energy companies here claim the incentives are essential for the growth of the industry. Harold Prior is the Executive Director of the Iowa Wind Energy Association. He says as the deadline approached without guaranteed renewal, investors were hesitant to start projects.
“Each time we either get close or it has expired for a short period of time, that the expansion of the industry declines by 75 to 90 percent,” Prior says. “Basically our growth just hits the skids.
Kirk Kraft agrees. He’s a developer at RPM Access, an Iowa-based creator of wind generation projects. Kraft says the wind business was booming in 2012.
“A lot of people were trying to get their projects started and finished on time to continue to qualify,” he says. “And what we in the industry were hearing about 2013 was practically empty. The order books were empty.”
With a more flexible tax credit renewed, Prior says five wind energy projects planned for the next decade could bring $10 billion of capital investment to Iowa.