U.S. Senator Continues Efforts for Renewables PTC

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, has again introduced legislation to promote clean, efficient wind energy.

Washington D.C. – March 3, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Grassley’s bill is called the Bipartisan Renewable, Efficient Energy with Zero Effluent (BREEZE) Act. The bill was introduced with 12 bipartisan co-sponsors. The measure extends the production tax credit for energy generated by wind for three years. The current tax credit is set to expire on January 1, 2004. “The potential for wind energy in Iowa is unlimited,” Grassley said. “Wind is a clean, abundant natural source of energy. Cultivating this resource makes perfect sense for Iowa, especially in these times of energy shortages and soaring prices.” Grassley authored the Wind Energy Incentives Act of 1993 to give wind as an alternative energy source the ability to compete against traditional, finite energy sources. He believes that extension of the production tax credit is critical to the continued expansion and development of wind energy. Iowa is a major producer of wind energy, Grassley said. From 1999 to 2001, wind energy capacity in Iowa has grown by 33 percent. While Iowa ranks tenth in the nation in terms of wind energy potential, Iowa currently ranks third nationally in wind development, with over 400 MW of generating capacity. And, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimates that Iowa has the potential to produce nearly 5 times it own annual electrical needs through wind power. Grassley said experts have established wind energy’s valuable contributions to maintaining cleaner air and a cleaner environment. Every 10,000 MW of wind energy produced in the United States can reduce carbon monoxide emissions by 33 million metric tons by replacing the combustion of fossil fuels, Grassley said. Since the inception of the wind energy production tax credit, nationwide more than 3,000 megawatts of new wind energy capacity was added. This generation capacity powers nearly 900,000 homes. Equally important, wind energy increases U.S. energy independence, thereby providing the United States with insulation from an oil supply dominated by the Middle East. “Our national security is threatened by our heavy reliance on foreign sources of oil,” Grassley said. The price of wind energy has been greatly reduced in recent years. “During the past two decades, the price of wind energy has been reduced more than 80 percent, making it one of the most affordable types of Renewable Energy,” Grassley said. “To continue this investment in America’s energy future, Congress must act to extend the production tax credit.” Wind energy also produces substantial economic benefits, Grassley said. For each wind turbine, a farmer or rancher can receive more than US$2,000 per year for 20 years in direct lease payments. Iowa’s major wind farms already pay more than US$640,000 per year to land owners. “Wind energy is reliable, renewable, inexhaustible, environmentally safe and homegrown,” Grassley said. “It’s so good that we need a lot more of it.”

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