Wind energy continues generating economic growth in Iowa

wind jobs
Jenna Ladd | April 4, 2017

The state of Iowa is projected to source 40 percent of its energy from wind by the year 2020 according to a recent report.

Navigant Consulting released an analysis last week predicting wind-related economic development in the state. According to the report, wind power is expected to provide 17,000 additional jobs and $9 billion in economic activity over the next three years. The Hawkeye state has already benefited from $11.8 billion in project investment and more than 8,000 wind-related job placements.

Kathy Law is a real estate lawyer for wind developers and comes from a long line of Iowa farmers. In an interview with Yale’s Climate Connections, she said, “I think for the most part it’s helpful just that I’m a farmer that can talk the language with the farmers.” Law pointed out that wind can provide a steady income flow for landowners. She added, “It’s a product just like our corn and soybeans. Why not harness it and benefit from it?”

Wind development in Iowa also generates tax dollars for the state. Over the next four years, wind-related projects are expected to yield $370 million in property, income and sales tax. This money, which flows into counties, helps to pay educators, pave roads and provide rural medical care.

Nationwide, wind energy provides 5.5 percent of all electricity used. In Iowa, wind provides 36 percent of electricity used. In terms of wind-energy employment, Iowa is second only to Texas and is expected to continue leading the way in renewable energy through 2020.

Tom Kiernan is CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. He said, “Wind does not provide just well-paying jobs either, many Iowans also know wind farms are the new ‘drought-resistant cash crop’ in Iowa, paying up to $20 million a year to Iowa farmers.”

Farmland prices rise in renewable energy boom

A portion of the World's largest windfarm. 259 wind turbines over 200 feet tall located in Cherokee and Buena Vista Counties in Northwestern Iowa. Together they produce 192,750 kW of energy. According to recent reports, Iowa gets generates about 15 percent of its energy from wind. Photo by Jim Hammer, Wikimedia Commons

This work by Midwest Energy News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

By Kevin Dobbs

Midwest farmers – and the land on which they rely – have prospered in recent years, even as the U.S. endured a financial crisis and economic recession.

And for better or worse, agriculture has built its good health on the fortunes of energy.

While rising global demand for food — particularly from densely populated and growing countries such as India — gets a chunk of the credit, this newfound prosperity is closely linked to the United States government’s backing of corn-based ethanol. Farm incomes and farmland values have surged as the ethanol industry emerged and then swelled in the past decade, creating a new form of steady demand for corn and hastening the rise in value of the soil in which it grows. Continue reading

Iowa may soon see nuclear power


Photo by Petr Adamek, Wikimedia Commons

A bill to incentivize construction of nuclear power plants will likely sail through the Iowa legislature, say supporters and opponents of the legislation.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports:

Bills introduced for study in the commerce subcommittees of the Iowa House and Senate provide broad support for nuclear power. They also set up a regulatory mechanism that would allow regulated utilities in Iowa to begin charging customers for the cost of nuclear power facilities while they are under construction.

Plans from the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon dioxide emissions have breathed fresh life into the nation’s nuclear power industry, which saw little new construction for several decades until last year.

Currently, Iowa has just one nuclear power plant, 37-year-old Duane Arnold Energy Center near Palo.  Continue reading

Delaware County set for Wind Energy Boost

Delaware County is ready to be energized.

After an order of seventeen Nordex N100 wind turbines and a 10-minute groundbreaking ceremony, residents are growing excited about the arrival of the Elk Wind Farm just west of Greeley.

“This is a huge economic boon to Delaware County,” Supervisor Jerry Ries told the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald.

The farm is set to open next October and will generate up to 41 megawatts of power, reports the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

See more of our coverage of wind energy in Iowa.

Report: Wind Industry has broad reach in Iowa economy

A new report from the Environmental Law and Policy Center, a Chicago-based environmental advocacy organization, shows just how much the wind industry impacts Iowa’s economy. It reaches more than 80 local business and provides 2,300 manufacturing jobs, which likely leads the nation, the report states.

With over 25,000 wind turbines at 80 sites, about 20% of the power Iowa generates comes from wind. Continue reading

Iowa – the windy state

Take a listen to our newest radio segment about Iowa’s huge role as a producer of wind power. And check out the video above, produced by National Geographic.

Congratulations, Iowa. You’re helping to solve one of America’s most pressing concerns: dependence on foreign oil.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

According to a recent survey, 69% of Americans want to be less dependent on foreign energy. Well, one solution to that problem is blowing in our wind.

Today, Iowa ranks second nationally in the production of wind-powered electricity – and we’re looking to grow.

Thousands of wind turbines dot our landscape, and close to 20% of our power comes from wind.

And expansion of the wind industry isn’t just good for the environment – it’s good for the economy too.

Wind and other renewable energy may replace the manufacturing jobs Iowa has lost over the decades. Right now, Iowa provides over 2,300 direct jobs in wind power manufacturing. That’s tops in the nation.

So the rest of America will realize that corn isn’t the only thing that grows in Iowa.  Wind energy jobs do too.

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