Iowans Urge Congress To Support Wind Energy

Iowans Urge Congress To Support Wind Energy

Iowa Interfaith Power & Light is asking Congress to renew the Production Tax Credit for wind energy before it expires December 31.

"People of faith in Iowa care about the threat of losing the Production Tax Credit for wind energy because we care about God's creation and our most vulnerable neighbors," says The Rev. Susan Guy, executive director of Iowa Interfaith Power & Light. The organization met earlier this month with staff from all seven of Iowa's Congressional delegation members. "We know that the right combination of state and federal policies and incentives create an atmosphere where our wind generating capacity can thrive and serve as a model for other states," she says.

IOWA WIND POWER: People of faith are urging Congress to support wind energy and renew the soon-to-expire federal tax credit. In another development, Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds brought together a bipartisan group of lieutenant governors from seven other states in support of the tax break for wind energy. Reynolds and her colleagues sent a letter to Congressional leaders asking them to please get the job done.

With the third-highest installed wind capacity in the nation (after Texas and California) and the most wind energy jobs of any state, Iowa already gets 20% of its electric generation from wind. Guy notes that electricity generation from coal-fired power plants is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution in the United States, "but wind energy generates no emissions and displaces carbon dioxide emitted by fossil fuels such as coal. The production tax credit enables wind energy to compete with subsidized fossil fuels and moves us toward a clean energy future in the interest of the common good."

Tax credit enables wind energy to compete with highly subsidized fossil fuels

The national Interfaith Power & Light network, which has affiliates in 40 states, has been advocating for the production tax credit renewal all year. "Investment and growth in properly sited wind energy farms and other wind generation facilities is an important way to curb carbon pollution, create jobs and protect God's Creation," The Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, IPL's founder, wrote in a recent letter to Congress. ~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

Bingham added, "Since 1918 the oil and gas industry have received hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies. This amount dwarfs support for renewables, which is estimated at under $6 billion during the years between 1994 and 2009. In our view, this is the exact opposite of the approach we need." 

About Iowa Interfaith Power & Light: Launched in October of 2006, Iowa Interfaith Power & Light is a joint response of Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other faith communities to climate change. "We work to protect the earth and safeguard society's most vulnerable by providing education about climate change and its impacts, assisting individuals and congregations with carbon footprint reductions, and advocating towards sustainable," says Guy.

Iowa Lt. Gov. Reynolds leads bipartisan group of Lieutenant Governors in support of tax credit for wind energy

Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds on Dec. 17 released a letter sent by a bipartisan coalition of lieutenant governors from eight states to congressional leaders supporting the Wind Production Tax Credit, or PTC. Reynolds brought together the lieutenant governors of Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Rhode Island and Washington in support of extending the wind PTC. The full letter can be found here.

"The wind energy industry is not only a source of renewable energy, but is also a vital component of the Iowa and American economy," says Reynolds. "Over 6,000 Iowans are able to trace their employment to the wind industry. I am proud that my colleagues joined me to urge Congress to pass the Wind PTC extension allowing our states and the wind industry to continue harnessing American energy, creating jobs and expanding economic development in the process."

Lt. Gov. Joseph Garcia ,D-Colo.; Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, D-Minn.; Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, R-Neb.; Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, R-Okla.; Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts, D-R.I.; Lt. Gov. Matt Michels, R-S.D.; and Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, D-Wash. joined Reynolds in signing on to the letter addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; House Speaker John Boehner , R-Ohio; and Senate Democrat Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

Without action from Congress, the Wind PTC will expire at the end of December

In the letter the lieutenant governors state, "Without the wind production tax credit extensions, the U.S. economy will lose tens of thousands of jobs and the opportunity to leverage $10 billion of private investment." The letter continues, "Businesses in our states need the certainty of a PTC extension to encourage new capital investments, to maintain their competitive edge of wind energy technologies, and to create high paying jobs."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~

The letter concludes by pointing out the production tax credit for wind enjoys bipartisan support from members of Congress, states and the private sector. Every member of the Iowa congressional delegation supports an extension of the wind PTC and Lt. Gov. Reynolds' letter is the latest action Iowa leaders have taken to show support for an extension.

The full text of the letter is as follows; it is dated December 14, 2012

The Honorable Harry Reid

Majority Leader

U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable John Boehner

Speaker of the House

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Minority Leader

U.S. Senate

Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Majority Leader Reid, Senator McConnell, Speaker Boehner, and Representative Pelosi:

We urge you to pass legislation that extends the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) scheduled to expire at the end of this month. 

The United States enjoys some of the best wind resources in the world. The PTC has helped enable a fledgling wind industry to develop technological advances that are creating jobs, building state manufacturing bases, lowering energy costs and promoting American energy independence. Today nearly 500 wind manufacturing facilities are located in 43 states. America's wind energy industry has generated nearly $20 billion in private investment annually in each of the last five years. The growth in the wind energy industry has been matched with significant gains in efficiency; however, more time is needed for the industry to mature.

Uncertainty regarding the PTC's continuance has already reduced wind turbine orders, halted projects, and resulted in thousands of wind industry layoffs across the country.  Without a PTC extension, the U.S. economy will lose tens of thousands of jobs and the opportunity to leverage $10 billion of private investment. The effects of instable Federal policy can already be seen. In just two examples, Siemens laid off 407 workers at its blade manufacturing facility in Fort Madison, Iowa, and Oregon-based Iberdrola Renewables laid off 50 of its employees and canceled several U.S. projects.  Businesses in our states need the certainty of a PTC extension to encourage new capital investments, maintain their competitive edge of wind energy technologies, and create high-paying jobs. We are concerned about the impact of these layoffs and manufacturing reductions on the families affected and on our state economies. 

The PTC has enjoyed bipartisan support from Members of Congress, states and private businesses because it is a successful tax policy that reaps economic and energy rewards. We encourage you to quickly pass a wind production tax credit extension to help fuel high-tech jobs and domestic energy production. 

Sincerely,

Kim Reynolds                                                                                     Joseph A. Garcia

Lieutenant Governor, State of Iowa                                        Lieutenant Governor, State                                                                                                                         of Colorado

Rick Sheehy                                                                                        Matt Michels    

Lieutenant Governor, State of Nebraska                               Lieutenant Governor, State

                                                                                                            of South Dakota

Elizabeth H. Roberts                                                                       Brad Owen

Lieutenant Governor, State of Rhode Island                        Lieutenant Governor, State

                                                                                                            of Washington

Yvonne Prettner Solon                                                                  Todd Lamb

Lieutenant Governor, State of Minnesota                            Lieutenant Governor, State of

                                                                                                            Oklahoma

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