Governor Reynolds declares Iowa Wind Week on Fairgrounds

Photo via Theodore Scott; Flickr

Tyler Chalfant | August 13th, 2019

Governor Kim Reynolds proclaimed the week of August 11 – 17 to be Wind Week in Iowa, in recognition of the growing role wind energy plays in the state’s economy. The ceremony was held on the Iowa State Fairgrounds on Monday, and the governor commemorated the event by signing a 150-foot-long wind turbine blade.

This is the third year the American Wind Energy Association has hosted a nationwide American Wind Week, after wind power became the country’s largest source of renewable energy capacity. Last year, 14 other governors across the country joined Governor Reynolds in signing proclamations of the event. 

With over 5,000 turbines, Iowa ranks second in the nation, behind Texas, in wind capacity, at 8.3 gigawatts. Wind turbines are expected to account for 40% of the energy produced in the state by next year. With ten different factories across the state, 9000 Iowans are already employed in the production of wind turbines.  

According to Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham, the amount of renewable energy produced in Iowa is also a major draw for consumers and businesses in the state. “It’s one of the many reasons sustainability-minded businesses like Facebook and Apple and Google have chosen Iowa,” said Durham.

Report: Iowa could get 40 percent of power from wind by 2020

Data from the American Wind Energy Association's recent report: "A Wind Vision for New Growth in Iowa." (American Wind Energy Association)
Data from the American Wind Energy Association’s recent report: “A Wind Vision for New Growth in Iowa.” (American Wind Energy Association)

Nick Fetty | July 17, 2015

Iowa leads the nation generating 28 percent of its electricity from wind energy and a new study shows that number could increase to 40 percent by 2020.

During a presentation at Des Moines Area Community College on Thursday, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released a report entitled “A Wind Vision for New Growth in Iowa.” The report used data from the U.S. Department of Energy to analyze the economic and environmental impacts of wind energy in Iowa.

Over the next five years the report predicts that wind energy in Iowa will generate over $49 million in annual property tax revenue, more than $19 million dollars each year in payments to farmers and other rural Iowa landowners, an annual savings of 3.7 billion gallons of fresh water, and more than 6 million metric tons of annual carbon emissions. The report also predicts that by 2050 wind energy could save Iowans more than $3.5 billion on utility bills.

The report outlined several successful case studies of wind energy in Iowa including MidAmerican Energy’s $6.7 billion investment in wind energy over the past decade, the Rippey wind farm and the farmer-owned Junction Hilltop wind farm in Greene County, and the Siemens’ wind turbine blade manufacturing plant which with more than 600 workers is the biggest employer in Lee County.

“Iowa is already a leader in wind energy, but this report shows the Hawkeye state has just scratched the surface of wind power’s benefits to the state,” AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan said in a press release.

A report released by the AWEA in April found that Iowa added more than 2,000 jobs to the wind energy sector between 2013 and 2014. Iowa’s wind energy sector currently employs more than 7,000 and wind turbine manufacturing makes up the majority of Iowa’s manufacturing industry with 13 factories and assembly plants around the state.

Iowa students compete in wind turbine design competition

Iowa leads the nation in percentage of electricity generated by wind energy at 28.5 percent. (Tom Corser/Wikimedia)
Iowa leads the nation in percentage of electricity generated by wind energy at 28.5 percent. (Tom Corser/Wikimedia)

Nick Fetty | May 1, 2015

Middle and high schools students in Iowa showed off their engineering skills during the Keystone Wind Energy Challenge last week.

Seventeen teams competed in this year’s challenge which took place in Elkader. Students designed and built wind turbines using their engineering skills and household materials such as snow shovels and PVC piping. Judges scored each design based on four criteria: (1) Energy Produced, (2) Turbine Design, (3) Written Documentation of Design, and (4) Knowledge of Wind Energy Subject Matter. Designs were tested in a 48″ X 48″ wind tunnel with wind speeds of approximately 3.5 meters/second.

“You can feel the excitement in the room as the turbines are being tested and the energy output numbers pop up on the big screen,” challenge coordinator Jason Martin-Hiner said in an article for the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald. “I think it’s great to see teams clapping, cheering and acknowledging the effort everyone has put into their projects just like you would in many extra-curricular activities. You even see teams talking afterwards and sharing ideas about how to improve designs and come back next year.”

This event is part of the Iowa STEM scale-up project in cooperation with KidWind, a Minneapolis-based organization which according to its website aims to “develop programs and resources to foster a generation of responsibly informed thinkers and involved doers for a brighter energy future.” KidWind sponsors competitions nationwide with more than 2,500 students taking part last year.

A recent report by the American Wind Energy Association shows that Iowa added more than 2,000 wind energy jobs in 2014 and more than 23,000 were added nationwide.

Report: Iowa added 2,000+ wind energy jobs in 2014

Wind turbines near Williams, Iowa. (Magnus Manske/Wikimedia Commons)


Nick Fetty | April 14, 2015

Iowa added more than 2,000 jobs in the wind energy sector between 2013 and 2014, according to a report by the American Wind Energy Association.

The seventh annual AWEA U.S Wind Industry Annual Market Report – which was released on Wednesday – reported that approximately 6,000 people worked in Iowa’s wind energy industry in 2013 which ranks second in the nation behind Texas with 16,000. The Hawkeye State also added 511 megawatts of wind energy capacity in 2014 which accounted for 11 percent of wind energy capacity nationwide. Iowa ranked behind Texas and Oklahoma nationally for wind energy capacity.

Iowa leads the nation in percentage of electricity generated by wind energy at 28.5 percent and ranked second (behind Texas…again) for wind energy produced at 16.3 million megawatt hours, enough energy to power approximately 1.49 million homes. More than $10 billion has been invested in Iowa for wind energy projects and infrastructure.

Nationwide the wind industry added 23,000 jobs in 2014, bringing the grand total to 73,000. Additionally, the nation quadrupled its wind generating capacity between 2013 and 2014. Tom Kiernan – CEO for AWEA – attributed the nationwide increase in wind energy to effective policies in place.

“These results show that extending the Production Tax Credit for wind power in 2013 was good for business in America,” Kiernan said in a press release. “We’ve got a mainstream, Made-in-the-USA product that supports jobs in every state and is gaining momentum. With a more predictable policy we can add more jobs and keep this American success story going.”

A March report by the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that wind energy in the U.S. will double in the next five years.

Worldwide demand for small wind turbines this year

Photo by Mike Gifford, Flickr

Large wind farm producers have no had the best time in 2011, while the small wind turbine manufacturing industry continues to grow.

Radio Iowa reports:

Industry experts say the demand for larger-scale wind farms leveled off in the last year while the demand for the smaller turbines that can power homes, schools or farms enjoyed growth. A new brief released by the American Wind Energy Association at its meeting in Des Moines says the generating capacity of the small wind systems across the nation grew 26% last year. Continue reading

Home wind turbine use on the rise

Photo by TechnoSpin Inc., Flickr

Residential wind turbine sales are on the rise and don’t show any signs of slowing down.

USA Today reports:

A growing number of people are investing in small electricity generating wind turbines for residential use, despite the bad economy, and backers of wind power say they expect advances in technology and manufacturing to make them even more popular. Continue reading