Report: Iowa No. 1 in wind energy
Just by looking around the state, it’s no wonder why Iowa is among the national leaders in producing wind energy.
A report released by the American Wind Energy Association indicated Iowa produces 27.4 percent of its total energy production from wind generation, which makes it the leader in the country.
Marshall County is among the leaders in the state in wind generation as it has a total of 92 wind turbines including a set in the Laurel area and the Vienna project in the Green Mountain and Gladbrook area.
Kirk Kraft, of RPM Access, works on locating wind turbine projects in the area and said Iowa has had a good business and weather climate for wind energy growth.
“First of all we have good wind – that always helps,” Kraft said. “There’s also been a pretty good grid.”
Kraft said having legislative support also has led to the growth in the field. U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, calls himself the father of the wind energy tax credit and his support has been critical to expansion in Iowa.
“We’ve had good legislative support at the county, state and federal level in Iowa,” Kraft said.
One other factor in the state’s growth is the major energy companies in Iowa that have been on board with wind energy including two big ones in MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy, Kraft said.
While Iowans use much of the wind energy produced here, it also boosts the economy to export that energy to other states, Kraft said.
“I think exporting wind energy to other states is just as good as exporting corn, beans, hogs and tractors,” Kraft said.
South Dakota is second in the country in the percentage of energy usage from wind generation at 26 percent.
As far as total wind energy production, Iowa ranks second in the nation, far behind Texas. The Lone Star State produces enough wind energy to power 3.3 million homes while Iowa comes in at 1.4 million homes. California ranks third at 1.2 million homes.