Library from Iowa
Bill Haman is from the Iowa Energy Center, an organization that provides information and tools for energy consumers. He said his office has heard from many consumers with the same problem. "There are cases out there where nothing was delivered, but substantial, sometimes over a $100,000 of down payment were made up front," said Haman.
A blade on a wind turbine broke loose and landed in a field in Adair, Iowa. KCCI reports officials said they are still trying to figure out what went wrong. The turbine manufacturer is leading an investigation into the accident.
These are unstable times for wind energy plants. Acciona in West Branch is laying off 40 workers, just months after White House officials had visited the plant to push for wind energy tax credits. Even though the credit has been extended a year, there's still uncertainty in the workforce.
"U.S. wind development declined sharply over the past year for reasons beyond our control," ACCIONA Windpower said. "The reduction in our work force is necessary to meet the current volume of production while we work to complete new turbine supply agreements."
Monday marked the second major round of layoffs at the West Branch facility in its six-year history. In 2009, Acciona laid off 58 employees, which was a third of its West Branch workforce. At the time, company officials called it a "short-term issue" due to the sluggish economy, but most or all of those positions never came back.
The giant producer of windmill blades cited record low natural gas prices, the impact of the recession and the reluctance by the U.S. Congress to enact legislation regarding production tax credit for new wind turbine installations. New orders had fallen off, causing the company to adjust manufacturing, projects and administrative support functions of the wind power production business.
Tina Sapp works at Nino's Bakery right on Main St. and said she watched it all happen. She said she immediately feared for her own safety. "As soon as it fell, we were like, 'What if it rolls this way?' That's all we kept thinking," she said.
Wind project developer and owner First Wind Energy LLC said Clipper accepted $59.5 million in advance payments for wind turbines it no longer produces in the lawsuit filed last month in Linn District Court in Cedar Rapids. ...First Wind is seeking a writ of attachment on Clipper's Iowa assets because it is worried Clipper will dispose of them, making it impossible for First Wind to collect any award it receives in arbitration.
Siemens, a German conglomerate, announced Tuesday it is laying off 146 employees at its wind turbine nacelle plant in Hutchinson, leaving just 152 employees there. All told, 615 employees in Siemens' wind power business will lose their jobs. Siemens said the change would primarily affect employees in Iowa, Kansas and Florida.
The biggest cuts will come in Fort Madison, where 407 workers at a wind turbine blade factory will be out of work. About 220 workers there will be retained. The company blamed difficult market conditions due to lack of congressional action on a wind energy tax credit as well as increased use of natural gas-fired power plants and an overall sluggish economy.
Most of Clipper's employees - and layoffs - are believed to be in Cedar Rapids, where the company manufactures its Liberty wind turbines. The company declined to provide numbers specific to each of its locations. ...Layoffs have mounted in the wind industry even though there are still four months to go before the credit expires.
The company removed one turbine from the property and Stineman said he believed it was installed near Gladbrook. However, the company dissolved before the second turbine could be dismantled and the crane company later assumed ownership.
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.
According to ACCIONA, the 6 MW Pioneer Grove wind farm will feature two 3 MW AW3000 wind turbines. The erection of the first 100-meter concrete tower, which includes five sections, is expected by mid-October.
In the fall of 2010, Horizon installed several wind measuring towers to test two possible locations for wind farms in Plymouth County. ...In January EDP announced that the project has been put on hold due to poor market conditions. "It's not a priority project at this point."
The wind turbine that helps to power the electricity for the Clay Central-Everly school district needs repair. Right now, the turbine is running at a reduced capacity ...The cost of the repairs is approximately $26,000, and the board is concerned that the output, once fixed, won't save the district enough electricity to offset the overall cost.
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."
"The structure would be quite noticeable," he said. "There needs to be a public vetting of whether it's appropriate to have that as an accessory use." Rather than have the Board of Adjustment overturn his decision, Boothroy said the "proper thing to do" would be changing the code, if that is what the public wants.
The decision means MidAmerican can continue its ongoing expansion approved by regulators in 2009, which allowed the firm to add 1001 megawatts and allow the company to pass certain costs to customers in a rate increase ...It also means that MidAmerican does not have to buy wind power from NextEra, which the Florida company had proposed as an alternative.