Gov. Terry Branstad signs legislation to extend Iowa’s biodiesel production tax credit and enhance the state’s E15 retailer tax credit among other renewable energy initiatives in the package.
Gov. Terry Branstad signs legislation to extend Iowa’s biodiesel production tax credit and enhance the state’s E15 retailer tax credit among other renewable energy initiatives in the package.
May 22, 2014

Coon Rapids and Glidden

About the only thing Gov. Terry Branstad didn't do Wednesday for energy production in the Carroll area was to check the porch bulbs or flip on the night lights for residents himself in Glidden and Coon Rapids before leaving the region.

Branstad spent most of his working day involved in two local energy-development events: the dedication of a Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative substation outside of Glidden and a ceremonial signing of a sweeping state renewable fuels bill at the POET Biorefining plant, just east of Coon Rapids in Guthrie County.

"We lead the nation in both biodiesel and ethanol production," Branstad told an early-afternoon crowd of local development officials, area leaders and renewable fuels advocates at the POET facility. "We're proud that Iowa is leading the way."

Joined by Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and a bipartisan delegation of state legislators that included Manilla Democrat Dan Muhlbauer, Branstad, with a generous supply of signing pens that he later handed out personally, placed his signature on Senate File 2344, a bipartisan package that extends the state's biodiesel production tax credit, enhances the state's E15 retailer tax credit and defines biobutanol as a renewable fuel option.

Iowa has 42 ethanol refineries with three cellulosic ethanol facilities being developed. The state has 12 biodiesel facilities.

William Howell, general manager of the Coon Rapids POET plant, said the bill boosts prospects for Iowa farmers.

"I believe that represents the backbone of our country's strength," Howell said.

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association executive director Monte Shaw said the legislation will protect Iowa jobs and give motorists more choices and better prices at the pump.

For his part, Branstad brought a delegation of South Koreans to the bill signing. The governor hopes to ink trade arrangements with South Korea for the export of Iowa biodiesel and ethanol.

"We want to be a reliable supplier for South Korea for renewable fuels," Branstad said.

Branstad also spotlighted the spin-off benefits of having high-protein, low-cost, cattle-feed product emerge from the biodiesel plants.

"We're seeing cattle numbers come back in Iowa," Branstad said.

Just hours before the bill-signing, Branstad joined the Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative at the new electrical facility near the Iowa Corn Processors plant outside of Glidden. Cooperative officials named the hulking structure The John J. Schumacher Substation in honor of a former cooperative director and World War II veteran from Coon Rapids.

"I will always remember these associations and look back on them with great pride and fond memories," Schumacher, 89, said during the dedication ceremonies. "I feel highly honored, deeply humbled by this."

Reynolds recognized Schumacher's World War II record, which included service in the Battle of the Bulge.

"Even more important than the substation is the man you're naming it after," Reynolds said.

Schumacher was instrumental in the success and growth of Glidden Rural Electric Cooperative, which became part of the merged Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative in 2010. Schumacher served on the Glidden REC Board of Directors from 1972-2008 and on the Corn Belt Power Cooperative Board of Directors from 2000-2008.

The new substation is named John J. Schumacher Substation in honor of his dedication to the rural electric program in Iowa, cooperative officials said. It serves the nearby Iowa Corn Processors plant and other expanding commercial and residential member-owners located southwest of Glidden.

"John's commitment to the REC was seen as he constantly worked to improve reliability of service for member-owners," said James E. Bagley, CEO, Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative. "He always kept the member-owners at the end of the line in mind while making decisions on the direction the Cooperative should take."

Branstad said RECs have played a vital role in Iowa's economy and that Schumacher, after serving in World War II, answered the call at home for decades of vital community development as well.

"We're so proud of what he accomplished," Branstad said.

Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative was established with the consolidation of Glidden Rural Electric Cooperative and Sac County Rural Electric Cooperative, in Audubon, Buena Vista, Calhoun, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Guthrie, Ida and Sac counties. Owned by the member-owners it serves, Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative and receives its power supply from Corn Belt Power Cooperative, Humboldt.