Top U.S. Energy Department Official Visits Iowa, Calls on Congress to Extend Clean Energy Tax Credits

WASHINGTON – Today, Under Secretary for Energy (Acting) and Assistant Secretary for Policy & International Affairs, David Sandalow traveled to Iowa to highlight President Obama’s strategy to develop every source of American energy.

During his trip, Under Secretary Sandalow toured Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Company in Des Moines and ACCIONA Windpower’s wind turbine generator assembly plant in West Branch, Iowa – two companies in the wind energy supply chain that are benefitting from federal tax credits for renewable energy generation.  The Production Tax Credit (PTC), which is set to expire at the end of the year, provides an important tax credit to utility-scale wind producers in the United States.

“Iowa is at the forefront of America’s growing clean energy economy,” said Under Secretary Sandalow. “To continue creating jobs and expanding this important industry, President Obama is calling on Congress to extend clean energy tax credits for renewable energy and manufacturing. These tax credits are supporting thousands of jobs in Iowa and have played a key role in nearly doubling renewable energy in the last four years nationwide.”

The two companies Under Secretary Sandalow visited are part of the wind energy supply chain in Iowa. Acciona Windpower produces 1.5 MW and 3.0 MW wind turbines.  At its West Branch assembly plant, the company sources over 80 percent of its components from domestic suppliers.  Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Company manufactures systems for the electricity industry, with 22 percent of their business’s gross sales coming from power control systems for the wind industry.

“Wind energy is powering manufacturing here at ACCIONA Windpower and all the suppliers we work with across the U.S.,” said Joe Baker, CEO of ACCIONA Windpower North America. “Stable policies are critical to the growth of any business, and the wind industry is no exception.”

“Many of our customers are developing alternative plans that significantly reduce the number and size of wind projects in the coming years.  If Congress fails to extend the Production Tax Credit, jobs will be lost as early as the first quarter of next year,” stated Mr. Fred Buie, President of Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Company.

In 2011, Iowa generated nearly 19 percent of its total electricity from wind energy, making it one of America’s wind energy leaders.  According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Iowa’s wind industry supported 4,000 to 5,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2010. Nationally, the wind industry projects that nearly 30,000 jobs will be lost next year if the PTC expires, including direct jobs as well as those in the wind energy supply chain.

Extending the PTC has broad support from industry, along with a bipartisan group of congressional members, who recognize the tremendous role stable tax policies play in creating jobs and keeping America’s wind industry competitive.

“The Wind Energy industry is very pleased with the Obama Administration’s support of extending the Federal Production Tax Credit.  This credit has been an instrumental part of the growth of the wind energy industry nationally and in Iowa since its inception in 1992.  With another extension, the wind industry will continue to grow, create thousands of jobs and contribute to our nation’s energy independence,” said Iowa Wind Energy Association Executive Director Harold Prior.

“I welcome Under Secretary Sandalow’s visit to Iowa to highlight the innovation and potential our state possesses in domestic energy production,” Congressman Leonard Boswell said. “In order to build on this progress, Congress needs to extend the Production Tax Credits to give the wind industry in Iowa and across the country some certainty to continue investments and job creation.”

The Obama Administration has called for the extension of clean energy tax credits to ensure the U.S. leads the world in manufacturing the clean energy technologies of the future.  As part of his “All-of-the-Above” energy strategy, the President has made it clear that investing in energy, innovation and American infrastructure are critical for creating high-quality domestic manufacturing jobs and building an American economy that lasts.