Renewable energy grants, tax credits may expire soon - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Renewable energy grants, tax credits may expire soon

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- Iowa ranks second in the nation for the amount of wind energy that's being used.  But the growth of the wind industry could slow down if grant and tax credit programs are not extended. 

A number of grants and tax credits for wind and other renewable energy are currently in place.  They're all designed as incentives for individuals and businesses to go green.  One grant program is set to expire at the end of this year, while other grant and tax credit incentives will be going away over the next four years.  Without those funds in place, some wind energy businesses could be in jeopardy.

Richie Judas is hoping to make a living in the wind energy business. But getting people like Joe Reitter to buy wind turbines relies heavily on the incentives that are available.  So the pending expiration of federal grants and tax credits that support wind and other renewable energy efforts is a real concern.

"It would be absolutely detrimental to the entire industry, especially small guys like myself, young entrepreneurs who want to get going and start these neat kind of projects," Judas said.

The first federal alternative energy grant is set to run out at the end of this year.  It's already supplied more than $5 billion in funding for major wind projects around the country.  Once it's up, other grants and tax credits will start to expire in 2012, leading up to the 2016 set end of the "Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit" which is a lifeline for small and large wind projects alike.

"The question becomes do you believe in global warming?  Does the government believe in global warming or climate change, as I see it.  So really the only thing you can do is voice your opinions either through vote or writing a letter to your senator supporting renewable energies," Judas said.

And the wind-driven industry is just hoping that Congress acts to extend all of the programs that support renewable energy, propelling the going green movement far into the future.

With the pending expiration of all the incentives, some are also calling for a national renewable energy standard.  You may have seen ads suggesting such a measure on KWWL.  Iowa already has a renewable energy standard requiring power companies to generate a portion of all electricity with things like wind and solar power.  The American Wind Energy Association claims that with a national energy standard, more than 250,000 new green energy jobs could be created within the next 15 years.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek


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