Report: Iowa added 2,000+ wind energy jobs in 2014

Wind turbines near Williams, Iowa. (Magnus Manske/Wikimedia Commons)


Nick Fetty | April 14, 2015

Iowa added more than 2,000 jobs in the wind energy sector between 2013 and 2014, according to a report by the American Wind Energy Association.

The seventh annual AWEA U.S Wind Industry Annual Market Report – which was released on Wednesday – reported that approximately 6,000 people worked in Iowa’s wind energy industry in 2013 which ranks second in the nation behind Texas with 16,000. The Hawkeye State also added 511 megawatts of wind energy capacity in 2014 which accounted for 11 percent of wind energy capacity nationwide. Iowa ranked behind Texas and Oklahoma nationally for wind energy capacity.

Iowa leads the nation in percentage of electricity generated by wind energy at 28.5 percent and ranked second (behind Texas…again) for wind energy produced at 16.3 million megawatt hours, enough energy to power approximately 1.49 million homes. More than $10 billion has been invested in Iowa for wind energy projects and infrastructure.

Nationwide the wind industry added 23,000 jobs in 2014, bringing the grand total to 73,000. Additionally, the nation quadrupled its wind generating capacity between 2013 and 2014. Tom Kiernan – CEO for AWEA – attributed the nationwide increase in wind energy to effective policies in place.

“These results show that extending the Production Tax Credit for wind power in 2013 was good for business in America,” Kiernan said in a press release. “We’ve got a mainstream, Made-in-the-USA product that supports jobs in every state and is gaining momentum. With a more predictable policy we can add more jobs and keep this American success story going.”

A March report by the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that wind energy in the U.S. will double in the next five years.

Wind Production Tax Credit extended

Photo by kendoman26, Flickr.
Photo by kendoman26, Flickr.

The U.S. Senate approved a fiscal cliff budget package early Tuesday morning that would provide a one-year extension to the wind production tax credit.

If the U.S. House approves the deal, the tax credit would extend until the end of 2013 and include projects that begin construction this year.

“Overall, this is very, very good news for the wind industry and I think it will help us out,” said Harold Prior of Milford, executive director of the Iowa Wind Energy Association. Because projects begun this year will be eligible for the tax credit, the Senate’s provisions are basically a two-year extension because the work can be completed in 2014, he added.

For more information, read the full article at the Des Moines Register.

On the Radio: Presidential candidates torn over wind energy tax credits

A wind farm in Iowa. Photo by jenpilot, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s episode discusses the potential effects of the upcoming presidential election on the wind energy industry.

The 2012 presidential election may greatly impact the future of wind energy in our country.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Continue reading

Obama to discuss wind energy tax credits in Newton

Photo by TushyD, Flickr.

President Barack Obama will visit a wind turbine blade manufacturer in Newton, Iowa today to promote two wind energy tax credits that are set to expire at the end of 2012.

The president intends to warn Iowans that the loss of the Production Tax Credit and the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Credit will hurt Iowa’s economy.

“This isn’t guesswork,” said Heather Zichal, deputy assistant to the president for energy policy. “We know from the past that when these credits lapse, orders for wind turbines slow, installations drop and job losses occur.”

For more information on President Obama’s visit, read the full article at the Des Moines Register.

Tax credit uncertainty leads to wind power layoffs

Photo by Auntie K, Flickr.

Since Congress has not yet extended the Production Tax Credit for renewable energy set to expire at the end of the year, the wind power industry is laying off many workers.

Some experts estimate that there will be 37,000 layoffs before the end of the year due to market uncertainty.

If the tax credit is extended, the wind power industry could add 100,000 jobs over the next four years.

Read more about this tax credit from Business 360 here.

Wind power tax credit likely to expire

Photo by ali_pk, Flickr.

A 2-cent per megawatt hour production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy has been excluded from the Payroll Tax bill in congress, creating some uncertainty as to whether the credit will be extended before it expires at year end.

“It looks like we’re not going to succeed, despite a valiant effort, as we see the legislation dealing with these tax extenders very narrowly focused,” said Todd Foley, senior vice president for policy & government relations, American Council on Renewable Energy.

Iowa employs about 2,000 workers in the production of wind turbines and towers, and the loss of the PTC could threaten those jobs. However, MidAmerican Energy’s upcoming 407 megawatt wind complex in Adair, Calhoun and Marshall counties will be completed in time to utilize the tax credit before it expires.

“We’ve done some market analysis and there is a cliff, especially for wind after March,” Foley said. “Our research shows there may be a 52 percent decline because of this uncertainty.”

For more information, read the full article at the Des Moines Register.