About the Post

Author Information

Iowa’s renewable energy boom: Headed for a bust?

The Gazette — October 21, 2012

A  renewable energy boom that’s been a pillar of Iowa’s recession-resistant economy seems to be running out of fuel in shark-infested waters.

Ethanol producers have scaled back production in recent months, and wind energy machinery manufacturers have been forced to lay off hundreds of workers across the state as production stalled.

On any scale, Iowa’s renewable energy boom was one of biggest economic development success stories of any state in the past decade. Iowa’s ethanol production increased 733 percent from 2000 to 2011, to 3.6 billion gallons per year. The industry supports about 83,000 jobs, according to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

The emerging wind industry created close to 7,000 jobs in the state, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The state’s wind power capacity of 4,322 megawatts allows it to produce 23 percent of all the power generated in the state, ranking second among the states.

These mainstays of the renewable energy industry are all facing headwinds.

Wind power equipment manufacturers have stumbled as business dried up over the last year because a key tax credit for wind farm developers is due to expire Dec. 31. The Production Tax Credit has been renewed repeatedly, but kept on a short expiration cycle that’s made long-term planning for wind developers and utilities difficult.

“It’s forced a lot of people (wind developers) to look outside the United States,” said Peter Gray, a spokesman for ACCIONA North America in West Branch, which is now building huge 3 megawatt wind turbines for a project in Canada.

(To continue reading, click here)

Tags: , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: