Interviews on Iowa and Wisconsin Public Radio

Harvest the Wind was featured on Iowa Public Radio's "River to River" news show and "The Joy Cardin Show" on Wisconsin Public radio this week.  These interviews coincided with Barack Obama's visit to the TPI Composites wind blade factory in Newton, Iowa, where he stressed the urgent need for an extension of the federal production tax credit for wind power.  This tax credit, providing a 2.2 cent-per-kilowatt hour tax credit during the first ten years of a wind farm's operations, is set to expire on December 31.  For months now, Congress has debated whether to extend the tax credit, which the wind industry sees as crucial to the continued development of new wind farms in America.  According to the American Wind Energy Association, nearly half the jobs in the wind industry may be lost if the tax credit expires.  Already wind equipment manufacturers and wind farm developers are scaling down their operations and laying off staff in anticipation of a decimated market if Congress fails to renew this measure.

Given the backdrop of substantial and sustained federal subsidies to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries, the production tax credit has been a critical means of leveling the playing field for wind power producers.  Unless Congress shows itself willing to introduce a tax on carbon emissions - highly unlikely in the near future - or takes steps to reduce current subsidies to traditional energy technologies (also unlikely given Senate Repubicans' recent rejection of President Obama's proposed $4 billion-per-year cuts in federal oil and gas industry subsidies), continued support for wind power through the production tax credit is a necessary means of helping America transition to a cleaner energy future.

The debate about federal support for wind power was among several topics raised in the Iowa and Wisconsin Public Radio interviews.