Legislative Efforts

Vision Statement

The Legislative Committee should:

  • Promote Iowa Wind Energy Association and provide information and awareness about IWEA.
  • Maintain a direct line of communication to the members and solicit input and feedback from the membership to be able to develop a solid legislative platform so there is not a misunderstanding or misinformation about who IWEA is.
  • Strive for an attitude of open transparency and work as a committee to build consensus and seek unanimous consent on legislative issues and then bring recommendations to the Iowa Wind Energy Association Board of Directors.
  • Maintain an open door policy for members to join the Legislative Committee.
2010 Legislative Platform
A vision for public policy initiatives of Iowa Wind Energy Association

Power Production and Transmission
SF 456-Small and Medium Wind Power Production Tax Credits
This was the major wind policy bill of the 2009 Session. In 2010, IWEA will provide support to make sure the wind policy bill remains the same. It has six main components: 1) The bill increases the amount of production tax credits available for "small" scale generation projects (code chapter 476C) to 330 megawatts of nameplate generating capacity; 2) Reduces the amount of unused production tax credits available for "large" scale generation projects (476B) to 150 megawatts of nameplate generating capacity; 3) Creates a new "medium" scale wind production tax credit program by allowing projects up to 30 megawatts of nameplate capacity to be eligible for production tax credits (476B); 4) Makes community colleges, public hospitals, public and private schools and the state's universities eligible for the production tax credits if they generate wind power solely for use at their facility; 5) Provides "small" producers with an extra 12-months of time between the awarding of a tax credit and the time in which they must be generating if necessary equipment is unavailable; and 6) Tasks the Iowa Utilities Board with updating the "waiting list" for code chapter 476C production tax credits.

Support new transmission and if new transmission capacity is added in Iowa, wind producers of all sizes will have access to affordable connections to the new transmission.

Safety and Technology
Establish a position on the State Elevator Board. Continue to work to create a wind tower lift safety committee within the State Elevator Board to develop rules and regulations for wind turbine tower lifts. The committee should be made up of five members including one wind power technology educator, one wind tower lift manufacturer, two wind tower manufacturers, and one wind farm operator.

IWEA is represented at the Iowa statehouse by James Obradovich. His end-of-the-year legislative report to the organization follows:

“The wind energy industry in Iowa continues to mature in the public policy arena, as the results of the just completed 2009 Session of the Iowa Legislature prove.

Led by Chairman Randy Van Dyke, the IWEA Legislative Committee developed an aggressive agenda of issues to assist the continued development of wind, expanded transmission opportunities and continued research and development of wind technologies.

Many thanks go out to all the members of our Legislative Committee, all the IWEA members who contacted lawmakers during the legislative session, and IWEA President Harold Prior who made several visits to the Statehouse to meet with lawmakers on wind policy issues.

We would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the efforts of the lawmakers who devoted much time, effort and energy to the passage of wind energy legislation. Once again we thank wind energy stalwarts Rep. Donovan Olson, Rep. Nate Reichert, Rep. Chuck Soderberg, Sen. Rob Hogg and Sen. Joe Bolkcom. Special thanks go to Rep. Vicki Lensing, who successfully shepherded the House version of the Small and Medium Wind Power Production Tax Credit bill. And of course IWEA thanks all of the Senators and Representatives who voted for pro-wind energy legislation.

Here's a summary of the IWEA developed and backed legislation from the 2009 Session of the Iowa Legislature:

SF 456 - Small and Medium Wind Power Production Tax Credits - This was the major wind policy bill of the 2009 Session. It has six main components:

  1. The bill increases the amount of production tax credits available for "small" scale generation projects (code chapter 476C) to 330 megawatts of nameplate generating capacity.
  2. Reduces the amount of unused production tax credits available for "large" scale generation projects (476B) to 150 megawatts of nameplate generating capacity.
  3. Creates a new "medium" scale wind production tax credit program by allowing projects up to 30 megawatts of nameplate capacity to be eligible for production tax credits (476B).
  4. Makes community colleges, public hospitals, public and private schools and the state's universities eligible for the production tax credits if they generate wind power solely for use at their facility.
  5. Provides "small" producers with an extra 12-months of time between the awarding of a tax credit and the time in which they must be generating if necessary equipment is unavailable.
  6. Tasks the Iowa Utilities Board with updating the "waiting list" for code chapter 476C production tax credits.

HF 817 - Wind Research Tax Credit - The bill adds an additional $1 million dollars to the Innovative Renewable Energy Generation Components tax credit program. The program is used to provide an incentive for the development of "next generation" wind generation technology.

HF 810 - Small Wind Innovation Zones - This bill is targeted at promoting the installation of residential scale wind turbines in Iowa. The bill allows for cities and counties to establish a small wind innovation zone within the political subdivision's boundaries. The bill provides for the development of a model interconnection agreement as well as a model ordinance for use by cities and counties to encourage residential scale wind generation. The bill also makes the turbines erected in such a zone eligible for the wind production tax credit in code section 476C.

SF 471 - Office of Energy Independence - Included in this bill, which moves the energy duties of the DNR over to OEI, is a study of climate change and its expected impacts on Iowa. The University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northers Iowa will be conducting the study.

SF 452 - Community Energy Grants - Utilizes four percent of the annual appropriation to the Iowa Power Fund for the newly created Energy Efficiency Community Grant program.

SF 376 - I-JOBS Bonding - Included in this major infrastructure bonding bill is $5 million to the Iowa Energy Center for deposit in the alternative energy revolving loan program.

SF 279 - Expedited Transmission Upgrade Policy - The policy establishes an abbreviated transmission franchise approval process when a utility or transmission provider wishes to upgrade their facilities from 34.5 kilovolts to 69 kilovolts.”

James Obradovich can be reached via e-mail at jimo@dwx.com.