Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, says he’s introduced a bill once again to extend the tax credit for wind energy production another seven years.
The credit gives wind producers 2.1 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity produced, but it is set to expire on in 2010.
Braley says the boom-bust cycle that surrounds the expiration of the tax credit has prevented the needed investment in U.S. turbine facilities that provide the economies of scale that make those investments viable. Braley says the extension of the credit would help Iowa and the rest of the country produce renewable energy, and create more jobs.
Braley says Iowa is in the top 10 in the country for wind energy potential and in the top in wind energy power production. He says Iowa produces 1,273 megawatts of wind energy, powering about 323,000 homes, placing it third behind Texas and California. The credit has seen several short extensions, and Braley says the evidence shows a longer extension is needed.
He says the history of the credit shows it has produced significant growth in wind capacity, but when it was scheduled to expire in 2000, 2002 and 2004, capacity growth fell sharply. Braley says the longer extension would prevent the lulls in capacity. Braley says, "By putting it in at a seven-year period, we are trying to establish a target point in terms negotiations to provide the predictability that we think is necessary for long-term investment."
Braley introduced a bill once before to extend the credit that failed to gain approval. Braley hopes the bill becomes part of the economic stimulus plan this time around. Braley says there’s a general consensus that the duration of the credit needs to be extended. He says there will always be debate over how long to extend the credit, but he has had conversations with Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, who Braley says is in favor of expanding the credit.
Braley says oil industry backers have opposed extending the credit, but he expects it to have more of a chance in the administration of Barack Obama.