In the political debates recently people have been asking about the Production Tax Credit for industrial wind energy. The pat answer is that the tax credits are declining every year starting in 2016 giving people the impression that now industrial wind can stand and that their costs have fallen so far as to make it affordable. That is not the whole story.
The PTC is given for 10 years. MidAmerican has even repowered some of their turbines that are barely over 10 years old to begin again that 10 years of PTC.
In MidAmerican’s recent application for ratemaking to the Iowa Utilities Board for Wind XII which has yet to be built they talk about using “safe harbor” to keep their costs down. Safe harbor allows a company to keep receiving 100% of the PTC if they have already spent 5% on the project total capital cost by the end of 2016. They can carry this out for 4 years.
MidAmerican has admitted freely that they will receive $10 Billion in tax credits for building wind turbines. They have built about 2200 turbines. That averages $4,500,000 for every single turbine. It is this money they are using to “make it affordable”. That money is future taxes that you and I will have to cover. MidAmerican is just one of many companies receiving this compensation.
Industrial wind energy receives a generous tax abatement. They pay no tax their first year of operation. The second year they pay 5%, the third year 10%, increasing by 5% every year until their tax is capped at 30% in year 7. MidAmerican has said that they have paid about one million a year in taxes per installation. One million dollars taken from our tax money to begin with.
When the turbines need to be rebuilt or “repowered” companies will spend a million dollars per turbine but according to Iowa Code 427B.26 they will not be assessed for the improvements. Try that on your own property or business!
This venture into wind energy will make our energy unreliable, it ruins our world class farm ground and most every community if not every community has been railroaded into accepting these installations without a chance to defend themselves because these companies are skirting the approval process of the Iowa Utilities Board. Some of the negative impacts from these industrial machines reach over property lines, disrupt sleep and lower the value of homes. This has already happened to well over one million acres of land in Iowa, more area than three entire counties and these utility companies say they are not done. Many, many communities and even states have fought of the onslaught of industrial wind but in Iowa we are losing every single fight.
Also, for the first time in 20 years MidAmerican is seeking a permit to kill our endangered bald eagles and endangered bats. 20 years of wind energy with no oversight and no regulation. They do not even have to prove that they are significantly lowering emissions which was the entire point in the first place. How does this happen??
I believe our utility companies have far too much wealth and power. They are not voted in and they cannot be voted out. They lobby our statehouse to pass laws that work on their behalf. Most of us don’t even know what has happened until it is too late. I believe that our state leaders are afraid to stand against them. Please leaders, we need you to stand up for all Iowans.
Janna and her husband, Paul, live in Clay County and farm together in both Clay and Palo Alto Counties. Janna is the president of the Coalition for Rural Property Rights, a large statewide grassroots group of farmers, residents and landowners standing against the onslaught of industrial wind in Iowa. She is also a board member of National Wind Watch and a member of the Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance.
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