turbineSome good news from Governor Culver today about Iowa’s renewable energy efforts:

Citing a new report by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Governor Culver today announced that Iowa has surpassed California, and now ranks 2nd in the nation in Wind Energy Capacity.

“In recent years, Iowans have worked tirelessly to build upon our natural strengths and make Iowa a national leader in renewable energy,” said Governor Culver. “As this report shows, those efforts are paying off. Iowa’s success story is further evidence that investment in wind energy is working. now is no time to back down from the potential in wind, and I encourage Congress to include a long term-extension of the production tax credit and robust funding for renewable energy research and development in the final stimulus package, because investing in wind is investing in job creation and economic growth.”

Iowa is home to six wind manufacturing companies — Acciona, Siemens, Clipper, Hendricks, TPI, and Trinity, representing thousands of green collar jobs and an investment of nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in our state. In addition, Iowa is one of only two states to make the three component parts of a windmill – turbine, blades, and tower.

Wind energy growth reached record-breaking numbers in 2008, according to the AWEA report. The report showed large gains in the wind energy industry, with capacity reaching 50% growth and increases of 50,000 jobs nation-wide.

Most notably, Iowa surpassed California and now has the installed capacity of over 2,700 MW. “This amount of wind energy can power approximately 825,000 homes in Iowa,” said Tom Wind, Vice-Chair of the Iowa Power Fund Board. “This amount of wind generation will provide about 18% of Iowa’s total electricity needs.”

“The wind energy industry is a prime example of what the new energy economy will do for Iowa,” said Roya Stanley, director for the Iowa Office of Energy Independence. “Power Fund projects that improve the manufacturing process and our state’s involvement in the Governor’s Wind Energy Coalition are the tools we need to support the industry.”