Renewable Energy—Production and Use
Renewable energy has made positive impacts in Iowa, both financially and environmen-tally due to our geographic location and tax incentives. Should we maintain what we have in place or look at making changes to ensure continued success?
• Iowa’s 42 ethanol refineries produce almost 4 billion gallons of ethanol, which accounts for over 28% of the entire U.S. ethanol production.
• In addition, there are 12 biodiesel refineries located throughout Iowa that have an annual production capacity of nearly 315 million gallons.
• Renewable energy production in Iowa in 2012 had total direct and indirect job support between 6000 and 7000 jobs.
• Iowa ranks 3rd for the number of wind-related jobs, with over $9.8 billion dollars in capital investments and over $16,000,000 in annual land lease payments through-out the state.
Community colleges are adopting renewable energy as part of their curriculum, which results in on-site job training for their graduates. And community colleges are producing graduates who have the knowledge and expertise to work and repair wind turbines.
Iowa is working on Tax Incentives
Tax incentives are offered for the production and use of ethanol and biofuels, plus state grants are avail-able to assist retail fuel stations in the conversion of their equipment, which will result in the expanded use of renewable fuels. The biofuels industry itself has added over $8 billion to Iowa’s economy and generated $2 billion in new household income.
There is concern about a recent proposal by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is responsible for implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard, to reduce the volume levels of ethanol and biodiesel in the standard. This change is in direct conflict with the current federal law and would result in an estimated loss of 37,400 ethanol-related jobs, the loss of 7,500 biodiesel-related jobs, and cause a reduction in the price of corn.
Solar, geothermal, and wind production each have their own tax credits as well. In addition to the tax credits, Iowa landowners collectively receive over $16 million in lease payments for the production of wind energy. These wind production tax credits have helped Iowa become first in the nation in wind generation as a percentage of total power output at 27.4%, according to the American Wind Energy Association, which is enough to power close to 1.5 million average homes in Iowa.
Where to go next...
Iowa is already working on….
• Update Iowa’s renewable policy and make it a true renewable portfolio standard.
• Find ways to have more of the renewable energy that is produced here stay and be consumed here.
• Encourage more production and use of renewable energy, like biofuels, wind, and solar.
• Put pressure on the federal EPA to not reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard.