The Great Plains from Iowa down through Kansas and Texas lead the world in wind energy production. Yet the wind energy production tax credit is set to wane and expire over the next five years. Those wind turbine royalties are increasingly important in western Kansas where you can barely raise a corn crop even with irrigation because of soil degradation and warmer nights wrought by climate change. Wind energy technicians who keep the blades whirring are paid good union wages and are welcome residents in tiny Iowa villages. They could ply their trade in West Virginia as well.
Yet they are fought at every turn. Astroturf groups spring up to clamor against new wind farm developments, citing phony “science” of human and fowl health threats, and funded by unknown interests. They have been able to slow or block development of new production and transmission capacity while new oil pipelines are laid near sacred Native ground and under the Missouri river without a problem. Utility companies, while capitalizing on wind revenue, continue to try to squeeze out small farms and businesses from metering their production back into the energy grid. They have been fighting that battle since the late 1980s, when Iowa wrote the first state renewable energy portfolio. And our grid isn’t getting that much smarter, so it can ship wind power when it’s needed where it’s needed, but remains vulnerable to natural and computer-assisted disaster. [Source]