Loebsack: Wind industry ‘so dependent’ on PTC
by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · June 22, 2012

U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, after receiving a wind industry award, said he would like tax credits for wind energy extended up to six more years.

Loebsack, D-Iowa City, toured Acciona Windpower’s assembly plant June 13, received the American Wind Energy Assoc.’s USA Wind Jobs Champion Award award and took questions from employees and the media.

He said the Production Tax Credit — which gives 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour for power from wind facilities in service before Dec. 31, 2012 — helps produce good-paying jobs with good benefits, helps the economy and helps the environment.

“I am proud there are so many wind industry facilities in my district,” Loebsack said, “And the PTC … the industry is so dependent on it.”

Loebsack said election-year partisanship has blocked an extension to the PTC.

“I’m not afraid to say how bad things are in D.C.,” he said. “If I were not in Congress, I would be writing letters to Congress. But I’m part of it, and I see what’s happening. … It’s leadership on either side. It’s very frustrating.”

Acciona Windpower CEO Joe Baker, in presenting the award — a wooden base with an industrial-sized bolt — said Loebsack is “a very strong supporter of wind energy.”

“He has been very supportive of us — doing an outstanding job for Acciona and the wind industry,” he said.

Loebsack praised Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa for fathering the PTC 20 years ago.

“We’ve got a lot of challenges, a lot of headwinds — no pun intended,” to keep the PTC going, he said, noting that all U.S. representatives and senators favor the PTC. “This has to be done quickly.”

The tax credits for alternative energy are due to expire Dec. 31.

Loebsack said Congress should deal with both general and specific tax policies before this year is out.

“We should be dealing with renewing, especially for the middle class, the Bush-era tax cuts,” he said. “And, specifically, the PTC. This is a jobs issue as much as anything else; it is also a national security issue; it’s an energy issue. It’s a lot of different things.”

Loebsack was shown the 3-megawatt turbines Acciona is building for Pioneer Grove Wind Farm, a 6 MW demonstration facility going up in Mechanicsville. The 1.5 MW turbines weigh about 80 tons, while the 3 MW turbines weigh about 160 tons but can produce more electricity in lower wind conditions.

Baker said Acciona hopes to break ground on the wind farm in the third week of August.

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