Iowans who buy a wind turbine might be eligible for a state tax break if a bill making its way through the legislature becomes law. Senator Joel Bolkcom, a democrat from Iowa City, says the idea is to help Iowans who want to buy a small turbine, but can’t make the project cash flow. “It provides for local ownership by small investors, farmers, local businesses, and it’s going to keep the money that’s generated from that electricity in rural Iowa,” Bolkcom says. The bill would grant a tax credit worth one-and-a-half cents for every kilowatt the turbine produces. The credits would be open on a first come, first served basis, as there’ll be up to six-million dollars set aside for the credits. Bolkcom says the tax credit will help people line up a bank loan and a contract with a utility company to sell the power the turbine would generate — because the projects will “cash flow” with the tax credit. Iowa currently ranks as the nation’s 4th largest producer of wind energy. Bolkcom says Iowa has a “wind ridge” but also benefits from public policy, like the proposed tax credit. “You’ve got to have good public policy to move these things,” he says. Bolkcom cites South Dakota as an example, as that state has plenty of potential in generating energy from the wind, but ranks near the bottom of the 50 states in wind energy production. The bill has cleared the Senate Natural Resources Committee but must win the approval of the Senate Ways and Means tax-writing Committee before it can be considered by the full Senate.
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