Backers of wind energy are pushing the Iowa House to act on a bill that would provide tax credits to Iowans who buy wind turbines. Teresa Welsh, a researcher for the Iowa Policy Project, says the kind of small-scale, locally-owned wind turbine projects that would benefit from such a move do more for the state’s economy than the large, utility-owned wind farms.Welsh says her research found a landowner who leases ground to a utility company that puts up a wind turbine will get between two- and five-thousand dollars a year in payments from the company, but if he or she owns the wind turbine on their property, they’ll earn four to five-times as much annually from the sale of the kilowatts produced by the turbine. She says wind’s kinetic energy has been harnessed for centuries to do things like pump water and grind grain. “Today, the relic sentinels of the countryside are being joined in their towering position by sleek, new wind turbines,” Welsh says. “These modern machines and the clean power they generate are a sign of the prosperity they can bring to their landowners and communities.” Welsh says Iowa has important role to play in the development of wind power. Iowa is the third-ranking state in terms of wind energy production today, but Welsh says the state has the potential to produce almost five-times as much energy from wind turbines as is used by Iowans. The bill Welsh and others are touting has passed the Senate without a dissenting vote and is eligible for debate in the Iowa House, but House leaders have not indicated when or if they plan to debate the bill. “Wind is a clean power and it doesn’t pollute…like coal and natural gas do,” Welsh says. She says wind turbines create economic development and in particular, small-scale, locally-owned wind turbines create even more economic development, especially in rural Iowa.
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