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Column: Clean energy fuels our economy

Q: Why is an "all-of-the-above" energy policy good for the economy and national security?A: The United States has entered a new era of domestic energy production that is setting the stage for energy independence. Thanks to remarkable innovation a...

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Q: Why is an “all-of-the-above” energy policy good for the economy and national security?
A: The United States has entered a new era of domestic energy production that is setting the stage for energy independence. Thanks to remarkable innovation and investment, American businesses and entrepreneurs are driving job creation and economic growth by tapping into natural resources to produce more energy than ever before right here in the United States. The efforts are creating a promising path ahead for strengthening national security, plugging into a clean energy grid, driving clean energy vehicles, and improving our balance of trade. Keeping more energy dollars at home pumps up the U.S. economy.
As a federal lawmaker, I champion tax and regulatory policies that leverage our natural resources to foster a sustainable, stable, secure energy supply. The United States can’t sit on the sidelines and depend on foreign oil to keep our economy running. America is a powerful nation. We can’t let oil imports set the agenda. We can’t let our foreign policy or economic vitality be dictated by volatile regimes overseas. The sovereignty and economic prosperity of the United States are strengthened by homegrown supplies of energy. And that means capturing energy from above the ground and from below the ground.
That’s why I support domestic oil, natural gas and coal production. I support hydropower, solar, wind and nuclear energy. As a longstanding champion for Rural America, I whole-heartedly support alternative fuels, from biodiesel to corn-based and cellulosic ethanol. Nearly 50 percent of all new electricity generating capacity comes from renewables. And the potential exists for even more growth.
Thanks to supportive federal policies, Iowa leads the nation in renewable energy production. We know that America’s entrepreneurial spirit that’s baked into our system of free enterprise for more than two centuries makes the U.S. economy incredibly resilient. Generations of Americans have used their ingenuity and work ethic to get ahead and stay ahead. Tapping into that drive for prosperity to help quench our thirst for energy is a win-win-win strategy for the economy, for energy independence and the environment.

Q: How big of an impact is the wind energy industry in Iowa?
A: Without a doubt, wind energy helps keep the lights on in homes and businesses from the Mississippi to the Missouri Rivers. Electricity generated from wind powers the equivalent of 1.5 million households in Iowa. Today Iowans get more than 31 percent of our electricity from wind.
Lifelong Iowans and newcomers to our state know that Iowa is blessed with this powerful, clean, inexhaustible energy supply. Robust growth and advances in wind energy technology have allowed Iowa to hit this tremendous milestone. Innovation and enterprise are working to harness our natural resources and producing clean electricity, creating good-paying jobs, boosting farm-lease receipts and growing the revenue base.
Beyond the electrical power that we all rely upon for daily life, the wind industry employs nearly 7,000 Iowans in 12 active manufacturing facilities in the state. More than 70 percent of a U.S. wind turbine’s value is now produced in America, compared to only 25 percent a decade ago.
Iowa continues to innovate and build upon the tax incentives I got enacted into the federal tax code. Last year, I secured a five-year extension of the wind energy tax credit. It was a victory for Iowa and a nod to the free marketplace. The extension will lead to a responsible phase-down of the federal tax credit.
Laying out the five-year road map gives the wind industry time to plan and invest accordingly. From taxes to regulations, I work to uphold fiscal responsibility and limited government that will strengthen America’s productivity and prosperity.

Q: How does Iowa rank with renewable fuels?
A: Iowa is a stand-out chapter in America’s renewable fuels success story. Our state has the capacity to produce more than 4 billion gallons of clean-burning ethanol from 43 biorefineries. Three of those are commercial-scale production facilities for cellulosic ethanol. Iowa has a dozen biodiesel facilities that have the production capacity to make 315 million gallons each year.
Renewable fuels now account for 10 percent of the nation’s transportation fuel supply. Homegrown production keeps those fuel dollars at home, churning through the U.S. economy. The 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol produced in America is more than the gasoline produced from crude oil imported from Saudi Arabia. It’s important to remember that stewardship of America’s natural resources is good for national security, economic security and energy security.

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