Iowa partners with Chinese company for wind turbine project


Wind turbines in northern Iowa. (Brooke Raymond/Flickr)
Wind turbines in northern Iowa. (Brooke Raymond/Flickr)

Nick Fetty | May 15, 2015

Officials in Iowa and wind turbine manufacturer HZ Windpower have partnered for a project that will construct 14 new turbines in the Hawkeye State.

Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynold met with officials from the China-based company to commemorate the agreement in West Des Moines on Wednesday. The $45 million, 28-megawatt project will construct turbines in Creston, Dyersville, Mason City and Perry.

“We are proud to be a part of the celebration and I am proud to be a part of the relationship that has been developed over the years. ‘And we truly believe that this is just the beginning and there are tremendous opportunities to continue to build on the investment that we are signing on here today,” Reynolds said.

Each turbine produces about two megawatts of energy which is enough to power about 500 homes. Officials with both sides also expressed interest about working together on future projects. By the end of 2014 Iowa had 5,688 MW of installed wind energy, a figure that is expected to grow to 63,000 MW by the end of this year.

Earlier this month MidAmerican Energy announced plans for a $900 million, 552 MW expansion of wind energy which is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. Additionally, Alliant Energy recently announced plans for a 200 MW project.

As report released earlier this month shows that the state’s wind energy sector is on track to meet and likely exceed federal energy goals over the next fifteen years.

Energy Dept to fund research on longer wind turbine blades


(U.S. Department of Energy)

Nick Fetty | March 24, 2015

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced $1.8 million in funding available for research to develop larger wind turbine blades.

The funding is designated for the manufacturing, transportation, and assembly of wind turbine blades longer than 60 meters. The announcement coincides with current research the Energy Department is funding to develop taller wind turbines which includes a study at Iowa State University.

A report by the Energy Department released earlier this month shows that the current amount of electricity generated from wind turbines could double by 2020. The report, entitled Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Energy in the United State, built upon the findings in the Energy Department’s 2008 study, 20% Wind by 2030. The more recent report highlights the economic and infrastructural impact of wind energy, outlining scenarios with “potential economic, environmental, and social benefits” if the U.S. increased its proportion of wind-generated electricity from 10 percent in 2020 to 35 percent in 2050. Currently the U.S. generates about 4.5 percent of electricity from wind.

Based on its projections, the report concludes that over the next three and a half decades increased emphasis on wind energy will save $400 billion in global climate change damages, provide 600,000 jobs, and reduce water consumption by 260 billion gallons.

The development of taller wind turbines could be particularly beneficial for the southeastern region of the U.S. which lags behind the rest of the country in wind energy. The taller wind turbines can also be utilized for offshore operations, particularly along the gulf coast and eastern seaboard.

Iowa State Fair going green


2012 Iowa State Fair. Photo by John Pemble; Flickr
2012 Iowa State Fair. Photo by John Pemble; Flickr

This year’s Iowa State Fair hopes to be greener than ever as event organizers renew their commitment to environmental responsibility. The celebration will feature a dedicated recycling initiative, a “Clean 5k Run” where runners will collect litter, and MidAmerican Energy’s Wind Turbine and Wind Education Center. Even the famous food stands are contributing to the environmental effort by recycling cardboard, plastic cups, and grease. Continue reading

Where to Harness Solar and Wind Power?


Photo by USFWS Mountain Prairie; Flickr

A recent study by the researchers at Carnegie Mellon University revealed that energy isn’t best harnessed in the first place we think of.   Continue reading

On the Radio: MidAmerican Wind Energy


Photo by ali_pk; Flickr

This week’s segment talks about MidAmerican Energy’s future wind turbine plans for Iowa. Read the transcript below, or listen to the audio hereContinue reading

MidAmerican makes big investment in wind energy


Photo by ali_pk, Flickr.
Photo by ali_pk, Flickr.

MidAmerican Energy will invest 1-point-9 billion dollars towards wind energy in Iowa.

This investment will add about 656 new wind turbines by 2016.

The new wind turbines could mean that about 39 percent of the energy used by MidAmerican Iowa customer would come from wind by 2016.

Read more here.

On the Radio: Iowa State University adds new wind turbine


Photo by Amy Dianna, Flickr.
Photo by Amy Dianna, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s segment discusses a new wind turbine at Iowa State University.

Iowa State University will increase renewable energy with their first on-campus wind turbine.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Over winter break, Iowa State University constructed their first on-campus wind turbine. The turbine generates enough energy to power six homes for an entire year. It could also power campus buildings such as Catt Hall, East Hall or the Hub for a full year.

The new turbine is a 100 kilowatt unit, and stands about 160 feet off the ground. The university is hoping to eventually receive 15 percent of its energy from wind and other renewable sources. This will reduce the school’s dependence on coal, which releases the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide during combustion.

To find out more about Iowa State University’s renewable energy plans, visit IowaEnvironmentalFocus.org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Jerry Schnoor.