Chuck Grassley’s Iowa has Big Wind as the state’s largest electricity supplier.
According to the Coalition for Rural Property Rights’ Facebook page reacting to his PR article what isn’t explained “is the $1,000,000+ per MW paid for by our federal taxes. So roughly 100,000 MW of ‘installed’ wind energy will cost us $100,000,000,000.”
Wikipedia says, “In addition to federal programs, the state of Iowa encourages development of renewable electricity sources through a 1 cent per kilowatt hour tax credit. Also, generation equipment and facilities receive property tax breaks, and generation equipment is exempt from sales tax….
Over $16 billion has been invested in Iowa’s wind power projects and manufacturing facilities.” Realistically, utility customers and their utility providers are $16 billion in the hole from initial infrastructure investments.
Combining astronomical utility rates from seven-weeks of COVID-19 unemployment, or 285,741 applications, www.iowapolicyproject.org reports those number on “a pace exceedingly high compared to the similar weeks during the Great Recession.”
While the Iowa Environmental Council believes Iowa’s utility rates are on par with national averages in 2016, what is not explained is the cost of wind-powered utility rates to those states buying Iowa’s surplus wind energy.
Further, “Wind energy in Iowa grew from about 800 MW in 2005 to over 6,200 MW today. Iowa’s electric rates have remained below the national average during this time.”
Given Iowa’s two largest electric producers this seems unrealistic, as Mitchell Schmidt documents in thegazette.com, “
• 2009: Alliant requested a $146 million annual increase for electric services. The state approved about $84 million, or 57 percent of the request.
• 2010: Alliant sought a $149.9 million annual increase for electric services. The state approved about $115 million, or 77 percent of the request.
• 2012: MidAmerican asked for a $76 million annual increase for electric services. The state approved 100 percent of the request.
• 2013: MidAmerican asked for a $135.5 million increase – phased in over three years – for electric services. The state approved 100 percent of the request.
• 2017: Alliant sought a $168 million annual increase for electric services. The state gave the nod for $130 million, or 77 percent of the request.”
This may be the trend across the U.S. with wind energy produced utility rates, which seems counter intuitive because the Iowa Utility Board (IUB) establishes utility rates. This could mean “the fix” is in somewhere, with rate increases limited to unrealistic levels to make green energy appear positive for Grassley’s political energy ambitions.
The same $436.5 million thing is now happening with the NC Utility Commission, as it enters the wind energy approval business. Iowa’s “$16 billion in the hole” has to be funded somewhere, through cumulative utility rates increases, Federal and state subsidies, property tax rebates for wind developers or Iowa’s Alliant Energy’s Second Nature Program, which is a voluntary program, allowing customers to support generation technologies that rely on renewable energy resource donations up to $1.00 per billed kWh, etc.
This will supposedly help offset rate increases approved by the IUB in early 2020. Go Hawkeyes!
Patrick Flynn is a resident of Edenton.
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