Is the Iowa renewable energy boom about to burst? According to the Gazett, ethanol producers have scaled back production in recent months, and wind energy machinery manufactures have been forced to lay off hundreds of workers across the state as production stalled. Over the last decade, ethanol production in Iowa has boomed. In fact, Iowa saw a 733 percent production from 2000 to 2011, amounting to 3.6 billion gallons per year, making ethanol production in Iowa one of the biggest economic development success stories in the past decade. Iowa has also been one of the two two state producing wind energy. Is this about to change?
According the the American Wind Energy Association, Iowa’s wind energy industry created close to 7,000 jobs in the state. The wind energy capabilities in Iowa are estimated to reach up to 4,322 megawatts producing 23 percent of all the power generated in the state, the second highest wind energy producing state in the U.S.
Why is wind energy production slowing down? Business have started to dry up over the last year as the Production Tax Credit for wind farm developers is due to expire Dec. 31. The credit has been renewed repeatedly in short term increments making it harder for wind energy developers to plan long term.
“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