Q: How can wind energy help create jobs?
A: As I talk with Iowans, there seems to be a recurring theme: they are worried, even scared, about where the country and economy are heading. As the unemployment rate stays at 10 percent nationally and 6.7 percent in Iowa, creating jobs is where the focus of Congress should be. Renewable "green" energy is a win-win situation for Iowa. Not only does it create good-paying jobs for Iowa's economy, but it also lessens America's dependence on foreign oil. I recently introduced the Clean Renewable Energy Advancement Tax Extension Jobs Act, or the CREATE Jobs Act. This legislation extends the federal tax credit for the production of electricity from wind and open-loop biomass through December 31, 2016. The CREATE Jobs Act also increases the amount of new clean renewable energy bond authority, which I originally won passage of in the 2005 energy bill, to help finance facilities generating electricity from wind, closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, geothermal, small irrigation, hydropower, landfill gas, marine renewable, and municipal trash combustion facilities. Bonus depreciation is also extended for one year in this legislation so that businesses can deduct half of the value from any property placed in service in 2010 to help spur investment in wind turbines and other related equipment. Iowans have taken wind energy incentives and hit the ground running. Iowa recently moved ahead of Minnesota and California to become the second-largest wind energy producing state, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Wind energy will continue to be a big opportunity and can help put more Iowans to work.
Q: How else have you been a leader in promoting wind energy?
A: I was the father of the original wind energy tax credit in 1992. More recently, as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, which is responsible for tax policy, I continued to work to significantly expand and extend the production tax credit for wind energy. In the last few years, I've also successfully fought to restore the wind energy tax credit after tax legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives tried to diminish it. I won't give up this fight because these tax incentives help provide the financial security businesses need to secure loans, so they can make the investments necessary to create jobs. These forward-looking jobs are a real bright spot in the economic future of Iowa and the nation, and they should be nurtured.
Q: Can Iowans use these credits for their personal homes?
A: Iowans can benefit from a residential wind credit that was included in the 2008 farm bill. It's a 30-percent personal credit for residential wind property. The credit of up to $4,000 helps encourage investment in wind energy equipment by individuals, so they can be more energy independent.