Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wind Energy Tax Credit Expiration Threatens Illinois’ Economy With Lost Billions

According to an Illinois State University report released this month, wind farms in the state will add $5.8 billion to the Illinois economy over the life of the projects. However, much of this economic resurgence is threatened by Congressional inaction over renewal of the wind energy tax credit which expires at the end of this year. ISU’s Center for Renewable Energy Director David Loomis says in the study report that Illinois wind farms have created 19,047 construction jobs here, plus 814 long term jobs in maintaining and operating the huge windmills. Landowners with turbines on their property earn $13 million each year from lease payments, and the wind generators pay $28.5 million per year in property taxes to local governments.

Loomis points out that wind farm construction is now at a standstill because of the threatened tax credit expiration. Sierra Club Illinois Chapter President Jack Darin says that renewal of the tax credit “is critical for the health of our environment.” Illinois’ wind farms already produce enough electricity to power nearly 200,000 homes per year. Great Plains Laborers District council Legislative Affairs Director Mike Matejka points out that “Wind jobs are very, very important as we bridge the recession.”

With all this economic activity at stake, it seems odd that nobody in Washington, D.C. is interested in passing a simple bill extending the tax credit before it is too late to prevent major hits to the wind industry here.

blog comments powered by Disqus