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Businesses worry about wind energy

IOWA – Just a day after the Presidential debate, wind energy workers are talking about the future of their business.

Workers worry that Congress will not extended the Wind Energy Tax Credit. The tax credit allows businesses to get a grant from the federal government if they invest in wind energy.

“That’s been the big 900 pound gorilla in the room,” Quad City Safety owner Dave White said. “It’s gone through Congress, and nobody will vote either way.”

White’s business specializes in safety equipment for construction workers. He sells goggles, harnesses, and gloves for workers who put up the wind turbines.

“We have good customers,” White said. “Right now, some of our customers are in Sebastian, Texas, and they’re throwing up about 100 turbines down there.”

Iowa produces the second largest amount of wind energy out of all 50 states. But the stalemate in Washington D.C. has already hurt White’s business.

“We’ve already seen most of our production business dry up,” White said.

White says that crews are still working on turbines because the funding for those projects have already been approved. But White worries fewer companies will want to invest in wind energy if Congress doesn’t act.

“It would be a shame to watch another industry that had a lot of its uptick in Iowa start and then turn off,” White said.

White says the tax credit could have a large impact on Iowa’s economy. He also says more businesses than just the wind energy ones will suffer in the process.

In September, Siemen’s Energy announced it will be laying off 407 of its full-time workers at its Fort Madison plant. The company cited the uncertainty of the tax credit for why it had to cut so many jobs.

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