Letter: More about Iowa's wind energy

I read The Gazette’s July 9 article “Iowa’s status as a renewable energy leader: How we got here, and what’s next,” I wondered how it is possible to create thousands of well-paying jobs in renewable energy, and maintain a spinning reserve backup of fossil fuel or nuclear power generation for when the wind stops blowing, while lowering electricity costs.

The column mentions the Production Tax Credit (PTC), but doesn’t inform us of how much it is. So, here is some information readers might like to know (MWh = megawatt hour): The federal PTC for wind energy is $24 per MWh. The Iowa PTC for wind energy is $15 per MWh. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the wholesale price of electricity seldom exceeds $40 per MWh.

Nor, as far as I know, has Iowa’s wind energy replaced any traditional generating capacity. In fact, Alliant Energy is requesting a 10-12 percent rate increase for a new natural gas fired power plant in Marshalltown.

The column also makes the claim that if the PTC were eliminated wind energy would be the only energy source not subsidized. However, those claiming that fossil fuels are massively subsidized always fail to inform us of what those claims are based on. To find out the basis of many of those claims, read the Gazette’s Aug. 8, 2016, guest column “Examining claims of fossil fuel subsidies”

Fred Hubler

Cedar Rapids

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