By Lucas Nelsen, former staff member
As nearly 40 percent of Iowa’s energy needs are met by wind, communities that host renewable energy projects are generating millions in tax revenue.
Iowa has 7,312 megawatts of installed wind energy capacity through approximately 4,145 turbines. One project, MidAmerican Energy’s “Wind XI,” is estimated to generate $12.5 million in property taxes each year.
New tax revenue from a wind farm benefits an entire community. Perks from wind energy projects include direct payments to landowners who host turbines, employment opportunities during the construction and operation of a project, and new spending in the local economy. Operators of projects may also provide payments to neighbors who are near development but do not host turbines.
Tax revenue from wind projects in Iowa is primarily derived from property taxes on equipment associated with projects, including the turbines and other electrical systems, like power lines. In addition, counties may create ordinances for special valuation of wind energy production systems.
As Iowans move toward a renewable future, increased tax revenue from wind projects will be a huge benefit for small towns across the state. Communities can use new revenue generated by these projects to fund critical functions like schools and emergency services without raising local taxes.
A recent fact sheet from the Center for Rural Affairs analyzes how Iowa’s wind energy projects generate these tax payments. Check it out at cfra.org/publications.