Senator Chuck Grassley today received a USA Wind Jobs Champion Award from the American Wind Energy Association for "his determined support and diligent work in helping to create and sustain U.S. jobs in the wind energy industry and its manufacturing supply chain."
John Ragan of TPI Composites and Denise Bode of the American Wind Energy Association presented a commemorative plaque and wind turbine bolt as part of the award this afternoon. TPI Composites operates a 316,000 square foot wind turbine blade facility in Newton.
Senator Grassley authored the legislation that established the tax credit for wind energy in 1992 as a way to provide a level playing field for this renewable resource against coal-fired and nuclear energy and to help grow an innovative energy industry.
Today, Grassley is the author of bipartisan legislation to extend the tax credit for two years after it expires at the end of the year. If the tax credit lapses, an estimated 37,000 jobs could be lost across the country.
"Tax relief has proven successful in developing wind energy, and it ought to be continued with the degree of certainty needed for continued investment and development of this clean energy alternative," Grassley said. "Wind is free, inexhaustible, and environmentally friendly. Conventional energy sources, including oil, gas and nuclear, enjoy countless tax incentives and many of them are permanent law."
Nationwide, the wind energy industry supports 75,000 jobs and drives as much as $20 billion in private investment. During the last five years, 35 percent of all new electric generation in the United States was wind. There are nearly 400 wind-related manufacturing facilities today, compared with just 30 in 2004.
In Iowa, the wind energy industry employs 5,000 full-time workers, and there are major wind manufacturing facilities in Newton, West Branch, Cedar Rapids and Fort Madison.
Iowa generates 20 percent of its electricity needs from wind. Wind energy powers the equivalent of a million homes. There are nearly 3,000 utility-scale turbines in Iowa, and they generate lease payments to landowners worth $12.5 million every year.