Obama to tout renewable energy in Iowa

President Obama will travel to Iowa on Thursday to put pressure on Congress to quickly extend key renewable-energy tax credits, the White House said.

Obama will tout the tax credits during a speech at TPI Composites, a wind turbine blade manufacturer in Newton, Iowa. The news was first reported by the Des Moines Register and confirmed by the White House on Tuesday morning.

The White House has made extending the tax credits a top policy priority, including it on Obama’s to-do list for Congress. Obama’s speech will focus on extending the production tax credit for renewables and expanding the 30 percent tax credit for clean energy manufacturing.

"Pass legislation to invest in American clean energy manufacturers who create American jobs through innovative new technologies and fuels that reduce our reliance on foreign oil and lead to more secure energy sources," the to-do list says.

The wind industry has launched an aggressive public relations and lobbying campaign to extend the production tax credit, which provides a credit for each kilowatt-hour of electricity produced from wind.

The American Wind Energy Association, an industry’s trade group, says a failure to extend the tax credit, which expires at the end of the year, could cost thousands of jobs.

Separately, the White House is pushing to expand the 30 percent credit for manufacturing equipment like solar panel components, “smart” electric meters, fuel cell components and wind turbines.

The 2009 stimulus law provided a maximum of $2.3 billion in tax credits for the program, but efforts in Congress to add billions to that cap have fallen short.

Extension of the tax breaks faces hurdles in Congress. While support for the tax credits has some bipartisan support, they also face opposition from some Republicans, who have called for the elimination of all energy tax breaks.