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Wind power is a great deal for Illinois

Published: Friday, March 14, 2014 12:37 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, March 14, 2014 12:40 p.m. CDT

Mary Auchstetter’s March 5 letter relies on special interest groups’ talking points to criticize the smart, effective tax policy driving private investment into renewable wind power across the United States, including in Bureau County.

Wind power has been an enormous success. Wind energy attracts up to $25 billion a year in private investment, and the Production Tax Credit for wind power and renewables more than pays for itself in local, state and federal taxes over the life of the projects. This policy is a big reason why $7.2 billion in wind power capital investments have been made in Illinois. The tax credit also is a major reason why wind power’s costs have dropped 43 percent in the last four years, and why all 50 states have an operating wind project or turbine component manufacturing facility.

Utilities and grid operators can reliably and cost-effectively integrate wind into our electric grid, and wind often undercuts more expensive, dirtier energy sources in real time electric markets. An Illinois Power Agency study found that adding renewable energy to the state’s grid reduced electric prices $177 million in both 2011 and 2012.

American-made wind power today reliably produces more than 20 percent of the electricity needs in South Dakota, Iowa and Kansas, and wind delivers more than 12 percent of the electricity in nine states. The Department of Energy envisions with the right policies in place, wind power can reliably provide 20 percent of the entire nation’s electricity by 2030.

Extension of the Production Tax Credit will provide certainty, create further improvements in wind technology while driving costs down, and continue to attract economic benefits into Illinois and across the country.

Kevin Borgia,

Wind on the Wires

Chicago

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