President Obama made an Earth Day visit to Iowa on Wednesday to talk about energy. He visited Trinity Structural Towers in Newton, which manufactures wind towers. The President’s visit highlights the work Iowa has done over the last three years to lead the world in renewable energy.
Through the $100 million Iowa Power Fund and other initiatives, Iowa has created over 2,300 “green” jobs and is now 2nd in the nation in wind energy, 1st in the nation in ethanol production, and 2nd in the nation in biodiesel production.
Here are some basic facts on wind energy in Iowa, courtesy of the Iowa Dept. of Economic Development:
- Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy Company is “First in the Nation” among rate-regulated utilities in ownership of wind energy farms with about 536 turbines in production.
- Governor Culver challenged Iowa utilities to increase the state’s wind energy capacity to 2,015 megawatts by the year 2015. In 2008, Iowa’s wind energy capacity totaled 1586 megawatts.
- 1,000 megawatts of energy can power 250,000 homes and is the equivalent to removing the emissions placed in the atmosphere by 682,000 cars in the state of Iowa in a year’s time.
- A recent study conducted by “Wind Utility Consulting” projects that, within a 600 mile radius of Iowa, approximately $3.2 billion dollars in wind generation projects will be constructed each year over the next 7 years. That equals more than $22 billion in new economic development potential for the region.
- A recent report by the Sierra Club and the United Steelworkers Union showed that Iowa has the potential to create 5,193 new wind energy manufacturing jobs in the state.
- Iowa and Texas are the only two states in the nation to manufacture turbines, blades and towers.
- Over the last three years, Iowa leads the nation in attracting wind manufactures.
- The Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development [www.iawind.org] provides support for the State of Iowa in its efforts to continue to expand wind energy and related industries.