In his third visit to Iowa this year, President Obama will give a speech this afternoon at a Newton factory that makes wind turbine blades, urging Congress to extend tax credits to the wind energy industry. Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, says his bill, introduced last November, would bring that about.
“I introduced the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension bill to extend the production tax credit through 2016, along with my colleague, Dave Reichert who’s a Republican from Washington state,” Braley says. “We currently have 100 co-sponsors on that bill.”
Iowa leads the nation in wind energy jobs, jobs Braley says would be at great risk if the measure fails to be enacted. Critics say all businesses, like those involved in wind power, should succeed or fail on their own merits and not become dependent on federal tax credits and subsidies. Braley disagrees.
Braley says, “The oil and gas industry has depended upon handouts from the federal government either in the form of direct subsidies or waiver of royalty payments that U.S. taxpayers are entitled to because drilling takes place on federal land.”
Like ethanol, another area where Iowa is a national leader, Braley says wind energy is a renewable resource which needs to be promoted as the U.S. strives to reduce its dependence on foreign oil. Braley says, “The fact that a million households in Iowa can be powered with wind energy, I think it gives you some sort of a justification for why these types of tax credits make sense.”
President Obama will visit TPI Composites in Newton, a plant that employs 700 workers. It’s the president’s second visit to an Iowa wind power company, following his 2009 trip to Trinity Structural Towers, also in Newton. That company makes the huge columns that support wind turbines.