Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Iowa
MidAmerican Energy won a favorable ruling from South Dakota regulators Tuesday for its wind turbines already spinning — but in Iowa.
But MidAmerican told the board the project would be economically feasible only if it's allowed to retain 100 percent of the PTCs. The IRS allows wind farm owners to requalify for the PTC for an additional 10 years under the 80/20 rule that requires no more than one-fifth of the fair market value of the re-powered turbine to be used equipment.
Besides taking exception to the procedural tack chosen by MidAmerican, the tech companies said the commission should decide the prudence of the proposed investment instead of doing it when the utility fields its next rate case, which will be at least a decade. ..."The board must thoroughly consider the proposal in a deliberative process to ensure that it arrives at the right decision."
Municipalities, such as Ames, Iowa, are the primary beneficiaries of a lapsed state tax credit for renewable energy
As the O’Brien County Assessment of Wind Energy Conversion Property ordinance requires, MidAmerican Energy Company (MEC) recently reported to the assessor’s office the final net acquisition cost figure for the recently completed and commissioned O’Brien Wind Energy Project located in northern O’Brien County along Highway 18 near Sanborn.
Black Hawk County supervisors want to ensure a full public airing of any concerns regarding a proposed ordinance that would offer tax breaks for wind turbines, even as little of the apprehension expressed so far relates directly to the proposal.
Muckler, in his April 16, 2013, letter to Acciona, contended the company failed to maintain 110 full-time jobs and continue payment of a median wage for 95 employees. Acciona was ordered to bring its workforce up to 110 employees by May 17, 2013, or the agreement would be cancelled. On May 20, 2013, the City of West Branch passed a resolution cancelling the agreement.
Proponents of wind energy insist that adding renewable energy to the grid reduces the market price of electricity by displacing resources with substantially higher operating (fuel) costs. Various studies have been performed that model the "price suppression" effect of wind and solar on ratepayer bills, however, assessing the actual impacts of an operating project on rates has proven more elusive.
"Do a long-term extension of the production tax credit at the federal level and the investment tax credit for wind," Prior said. "Failing that, remove the tax incentives, both within the tax code and outside the tax code, for all other generators of electricity so that we have a level playing field on which to compete."
Congressman Tom Latham says he has talked privately with fellow Republican Mitt Romney about a key tax break for the wind industry, but Latham says Romney is standing by his opposition to extending the wind production tax credit.
But asked about whether they might reverse course, the Romney campaign made clear the former Massachusetts governor will not change his opposition to the tax credit.
Despite Iowa's stake in wind and Romney's apparent emphasis on winning the swing state, the GOP candidate has shown little love for the industry. Literature from the Romney campaign calls wind energy "sharply uncompetitive" and said the industry "seems to be operating more on faith than on fact-based economic calculation."
"I have no information that Acciona is going to lay off people," he told the West Branch Times. "I was trying to generalize the entire industry, ... and I made a statement I should have not made specifically."
Gov. Chet Culver is defending his focus on Iowa's renewable energy industry, saying his effort has created "thousands of jobs" and leaving little doubt he'll make it the centerpiece of his campaign for a second term. The Democratic governor made the creation of a $100 million Iowa Power Fund the centerpiece of his 2006 campaign, and he dismissed a report by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency that found the fund has had limited success.
With economic breezes no longer at its back, Iowa's wind energy industry hopes the three-year renewal of federal tax breaks will regenerate the momentum that has made Iowa the nation's second-largest wind producer. "The renewals of those tax incentives will be a huge help to us," said Estherville insurance man Al Blum, who is putting together wind farm projects in Emmett and Dickinson counties.
U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, said today that he is introduced a bill to extend the wind energy production tax credit until 2017. The current credit, which was extended last year, is set to expire at the end of 2009. Braley told reporters Thursday a long-term extension will create some certainty in the market and spur greater development.
With the looming possibility of Wind Energy Conversion Properties (wind farms) in Fremont County, officials are thinking ahead and taking action. Fremont County Assessor Karen Berry approached the Fremont County Board of Supervisors on Aug. 14 and proposed an ordinance be placed on the books pertaining to the assessment of wind farms. If the ordinance is passed, wind towers will be a local assessment when, and if, they come to Fremont County. "If we don't pass this ordinance and wind towers come in, they will be considered a utility and the state assesses utilities.
Times have never been better for wind power. The industry's growth rate doubled last year, and additional turbines are going up across the country. But the industry is heavily dependent on a federal tax subsidy that's set to expire at the end of this year. And the industry's growth is steadily increasing the cost of the subsidy and making it tougher for lawmakers to keep it going. ...Last year, the industry added 5,244 megawatts of capacity, more than twice the 2,454 megawatts added in 2006. That brought the nationwide capacity to 16,818 megawatts. But that growth also means that continuing the subsidy for one more year, through 2009, would cost taxpayers $3 billion. "The problem with a long-term extension is that it's cost-prohibitive as long as the industry continues to expand. Budget-wise, it's hard to do it for an extended period of time," said Frank Maisano, an energy industry lobbyist.
Wind energy is booming in Iowa, and backers say it's only the beginning. ...But the jobs could blow away, economists warn, just as other manufacturing jobs have disappeared because of competition and technological change. Other states want to attract manufacturers, too. Wind power depends on subsidies, and changes in government policies could dampen the enthusiasm for wind. ...John Solow, a University of Iowa economics professor, is cautiously optimistic about the future for wind generation and turbine manufacturing. Future policy decisions and technological innovations could change that, he said. A breakthrough in clean-burning coal, for example, could reduce interest in wind energy and biofuels, he said.
Gov. Chet Culver on March 29 outlined one of his key legislative proposals - the Iowa Power Fund. At stops in Cedar Rapids and Ankeny, the governor presented his vision for the future of renewable energy in Iowa, and laid out specific proposals to keep Iowa ahead in the race to become the renewable energy capital of the world. "Today, Iowa begins taking the lead in the race to become the energy capital of the world," said Culver. "Our $100 million Iowa Power Fund will allow Iowa to invest in and attract cutting edge research and development. "It will allow our state to be involved in commercialization of emerging technologies. It will allow existing companies to expand and grow to meet the needs of emerging markets. It will help us create the jobs of the future that will keep your kids and my kids here in Iowa where they belong. This effort is at the heart of the 21st Century Iowa Expedition I have called on all Iowans to join."