Wind energy expansion in the tri-states is uncertain - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Wind energy expansion in the tri-states is uncertain

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

 Iowa jobless numbers could rise in a couple of months when some 400 people lose their jobs at the Ft. Madison Siemen's plant.

The wind energy company announced the planned lay-offs earlier this week, due to questions about the renewal of a federal wind tax credit.

Only one wind turbine stands in rural Adams County, and it is owned by Adams Electric Co-op  and it might remain the only one in the near future.

Many wind energy companies rely heavily on federal wind tax credits to build the power sources, and that tax credit is in jeopardy of not being renewed at the end of the year.

Bill Stalder of Adams Electric Co-op said his company is a non-for-profit so they didn't rely on the tax credit, but said other for-profit companies need it to stay competitive.

"That 2.2 cent credit that they get helps make wind energy that they are producing a lot more competitive without that they may be producing electricity at twice as much as natural gas," said Stalder. 

Quincy University Business Professor Mitch Ellison agrees that wind energy is just too expensive without a tax credit in place.

"The wind turbines are millions of dollars, if the federal government doesn't chip in to do this we probably we do it. In fact, it probably wouldn't stand on its own.," said Ellison.

Ellison said the future expansion of wind energy all over the country depends on politicians in Washington, which he says makes it a risky business venture.

"You wouldn't put your money into something whose survival ability is contingent upon the government passing year to year tax credits," said Ellison.

Several Adams County Board members said that idea for wind energy expansion has been dead for some time, mainly because of strong community opposition.

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