Report: Big Opportunity To Expand Wind Power In Iowa

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Iowa has tremendous opportunity to expand on its emergence as a world leader in wind energy production, according to a new report from the Iowa Policy Project (IPP). Up to 20% of Iowa's electricity is produced from wind, and the state ranks second only to Texas in the U.S. in terms of wind power capacity. However, it is far ahead of Texas on a per-capita basis, according the report.

In their report, ‘Think Wind Power, Think 'Iowa,'’ IPP Research Associate Teresa Galluzzo and IPP Executive Director David Osterberg note calculations from the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) that estimate that 17% to 20% of all electricity generated in Iowa comes from wind, with 3,670 MW of installed wind capacity; a 33.3% average wind capacity factor; and approximately 53 million MWh of total electricity generation in 2008.

‘In the last two years, Iowa added 2,500 MW of wind turbine capacity and now has wind capacity nearly six times the size of Iowa's lone nuclear plant,’ says Osterberg.Â

The researchers say it is important to recognize the economic impact of wind energy, as wind turbine-related companies create jobs in the state.

‘When you realize that Iowa lost nearly 20,000 manufacturing jobs last year, you can see what an opportunity this industry offers,’ says Osterberg. ‘Plus, we cannot miss the connection to our environment and climate change.

The report notes that MidAmerican Energy has more than 1,393 MW of wind facilities in operation or planned in Iowa and received approval from IUB in December to build an additional 1,001 MW of wind power in Iowa.

SOURCE: The Iowa Policy Project

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