A wide-ranging coalition of wind energy supporters is rallying all Iowans to make their voices heard in Washington today to extend a tax credit to help keep the wind industry alive. This is what’s being called the Wind Day of Action, according to Amelia Schoeneman, a spokeswoman for the group Environment Iowa.
Schoeneman says, “People are calling their members of Congress, they’re writing letters to local newspapers and they’re sharing information with their friends and neighbors, online and in person.” Iowans are being urged to contact their representatives in the nation’s capitol, thank them for supporting the federal production tax credit on wind, and urge them to keep fighting for its extension.
The tax credit is due to expire at year’s end. Schoeneman says the wind industry employs 7,000 iowans. “There’s already been job losses at a plant in Cedar Rapids just because of the threat of these tax credits expiring,” she says.
“It’s really essential that they renew these tax credits.” Schoeneman says the continued growth of the wind energy industry is vital for developing rural Iowa’s economy. In the past 20 years, nearly 3,000 wind turbines have been installed at more than 100 wind farms statewide.
Those wind farms and the power they generate are worth more than $5-billion a year. “Iowa is ranked second in the United States for the percentage of electricity derived from wind,” she says. “Iowa wind farms now provide 18% of Iowa’s electricity, the equivalent of more than a million homes.”
Some 65 Iowa groups are also joining forces today in calling for Congress to extend the tax credit, a diverse list of agencies that includes: The Iowa Farm Bureau, the Iowa Wildlife Federation, the Iowa chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Iowa Chamber Alliance.