One of the subsidiaries of MidAmerican Energy Holdings – Warren Buffett owned – intends to capitalize on tax subsidies offered by the federal government. They plan to install 448 wind turbines across five counties in Iowa. This will generate up to 1050 MW of power by the year 2015.
The construction on these wind farms is set to begin in September 2013. This means that MidAmerican is going to qualify for the generous tax credits offered by the federal government in relation to wind.
“MidAmerican Energy Company does plan to use federal wind production tax credits for the recently announced wind expansion,” said a company spokeswoman in an email that she sent to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The specific amount is not available.”
MidAmerican could potentially qualify for $23 per megawatt hour of the wind power that they produce, and they can take advantage of this for the next 10 years.
“We’re excited about that,” said Terry Branstad, Republican Iowa Gov. “This is a huge project, and obviously, it’s a win-win for everybody: for the environment, for the farmers, for the customers and for the people who get jobs in construction and eventually in overseeing the maintenance of the wind farms.”
This project actually represents the largest economic development investment in the state of Iowa’s history, we learned according to Branstad. It is expected to create over 460 jobs in the area of construction over a two-year period. The estimated payroll is that $30 million. The project is also going to create a permanent 48 jobs.
“According to Pres. Obama’s calculus, the jobs MidAmerican Energy hopes to create with its new taxpayer-funded wind investment are only a ‘blip,’” Benjamin Cole said, who is a spokesman for the American Energy Alliance.
“Even then, the backup coal, nuclear, and natural gas powered generation will have to carry the burden of supplying Iowa residents with always on, affordable electricity,” added Cole.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, by extending the energy tax benefits, it will cost over $10.3 billion during a five-year period. And over 10 years, it will cost $18.1 billion. The Joint Committee on Taxation stated that the one year extension of the wind PTC alone is going to cost $12.1 billion.
“MidAmerican’s so-called ‘investment’ is a smoke screen for the real source of money for these projects, the American taxpayers across the country who are footing the bill for job blips in the wind industry,” said Cole.
Since 2004, MidAmerican has actually installed more than 1200 wind turbines in the state of Iowa. They have currently invested over $4 billion in this endeavor. The most recent project will put them on track to owning over 3300 MW of wind power in the state by the end of the year 2015.
“The best way to meet our customer’s energy needs is to provide reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible energy through a diversified generation portfolio, said Bill Ferhman, MidAmerican Energy president.
Iowa is the biggest state for wind in regards to percentage of power being generated by this natural element. It currently generates 25% of the state’s electricity as of the year 2012.
However, wind only produced a total of 3.46% of all electricity throughout the United States during the year 2012. On the other hand, coal produced 37% of electricity and natural gas produced 30%.