Wind energy industry optimistic for extension

There’s optimism in wind energy circles that the production tax credit will be extended rather than expiring at the end of the year. Dan McGuire is the outreach coordinator with Wind Powering America.  He tells Brownfield Ag News, “With the elections behind us now and the administration supports extension of it and the Senate does – so, they’re optimistic from the American Wind Energy Association, that it’ll get extended.”

McGuire says lots of governors, both Republican and Democrat, are pushing for an extension because he says wind energy is a big economic driver that is bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.  He says, “In previous years, we were importing most of the components into the U.S. but there’s been manufacturing and it’s pushed by the Wind Production tax credit.”  McGuire says there are 500 manufacturing facilities for wind energy equipment in 44 states.

McGuire is also co-chair of the Nebraska Wind Energy Working Group.  He says, “I like to always point to Iowa, even though I’m from Nebraska. Iowa has 20% of its electricity now being generated by wind energy. They have really gone great guns over there and I tip my hat to ‘em for doing so well. They are an example of what we could do nationally.”  McGuire says the U.S. Department of Energy’s target for wind energy is also 20% by 2030.

While it’s not the total answer for renewable energy production, McGuire says wind energy is an important part of it — as well as being a rural economic driver.  “People say, well, that’s just for those landowners. No, it isn’t. It’s property tax revenue streams into your local county tax coffers which helps all the schools. And, it’s sales tax revenue into your state tax coffers and it’s hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

In their pitch to Congress to renew the wind energy subsidy, wind energy groups, such as the American Wind Energy Association, are increasingly pointing to its economic benefits.

AUDIO: Dan McGuire (10:00 mp3)

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