News roundup: Iowa calls for extending the PTC, wind power is great for Maine, and Ohio wind fuels economic development
In Iowa this week, a state senator leads the push for a PTC extension, wind is saving people money in Maine, and in Ohio, a major project produces big community benefits.
Iowa state senator Rob Hogg has sent Oregon Senator Ron Wyden a petition on behalf of Climate Parents, encouraging the incoming Finance committee chair to extend the PTC:
- Rob Hogg, an Iowa state senator, created a Climate Parents petition to send to Wyden, encouraging him to do what he can to obtain a PTC renewal. According to North American Windpower, the petition has about 50,000 signatures. “We must support wind power and renewable energy,” Hogg said. “Our children and our grandchildren are counting on Congress to act.”
- “The decision on whether to extend the wind PTC is a crucial test for Congress that will impact the type of world our children inherit,” The Climate Parents petition reads. “Will Congress continue to favor industries that increase carbon pollution, fueling climate-related disasters?
- “Your leadership as the new Senate Finance Committee chair in prioritizing and championing renewal of the renewable energy PTC can have a major impact on getting past the partisan gridlock that is jeopardizing this vital support for wind energy,” the Climate Parents petition to Wyden reads. “There is growing momentum across the country for an extension of the wind tax credit.” At a forum in Portland last month, Wyden touted the country’s supply of natural gas, but also said the U.S. needed more green energy. “We need cleaner, more renewable energy for the environment and the economy,” the senator said.
Abigail Krich is the president of Boreas Renewables in Somerset, Mass., and she knows just how important the economic and environmental benefits of wind power can be to Mainers:
- Once a wind farm is built, the fuel it needs to produce electricity is free. In the New England wholesale electricity markets, wind acts as a price-taker, displacing the most expensive electricity the region would otherwise have needed to purchase. This lowers the price of electricity for all consumers, including those in Maine. If New England adds sufficient wind energy to meet the regional renewable energy standards, this type of savings could amount to more than $1 billion per year.
- In addition to the economic benefits, wind energy has significant environmental benefits… In fact, the most expensive power plants that are displaced by clean wind energy are generally expensive because they are the least efficient and thus the most polluting. The ISO-NE New England Wind Integration Study found that carbon emissions from power plants would decrease by 25 percent if 20 percent of our electricity were produced by wind. Nitrogen oxide emissions would also be reduced by 26 percent.
- Wind energy is a smart choice for our region, both for its economic and its environmental benefits.
The Blue Creek Wind farm, Ohio’s largest, is helping revitalize the surrounding area through payments to two communities:
- Iberdrola Renewables presented $2.7 million worth of checks to two Ohio communities Friday to commemorate the first of the annual payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for the Blue Creek Wind Farm—the state’s largest wind farm with 304 megawatts (MW) of output.
- Blue Creek is spread across two counties and six townships in Northwest Ohio. The $2.07 million check presented to Van Wert County makes the farm the county’s largest taxpayer, equal to the combined amount of the top 11 taxpayers as of 2012. Paulding County received $666,000, or about $18,000 for each of its 37 turbines.
- Most of the revenue will be shared with school districts, according to Iberdrola. For example, Crestview Schools will receive about $850,000 per year in new revenue. It has 81 turbines within its boundaries and stands to gain a revenue boost of about 10 percent. “This is my 40th year in education and I don’t think I have ever seen a source of revenue like this offer itself to a school district like this,” Crestview Superintendent Mike Estes said.
- “It’s really a windfall for us.”
Don’t forget! This week, AWEA wants you to tell us why you love wind power!
And be sure to check out Monday’s roundup: The low cost of clean energy, an ambitious project for Wyoming and California, and AWEA's Rob Gramlich on Sierra Club Radio
Brandon Baker, “50,000 Wind Energy Supporters Call on Incoming Senate Committee Leader to Extend Tax Credit.” EcoWatch. 10 February 2014.
Abigail Krich, “Wind energy produces economic and environmental benefits.” Portland Press Herald. 9 February 2014.
Brandon Baker, “Wind Energy Provides $2.7 Million Tax Windfall for Two Communities.” EcoWatch. 10 February 2014.