Eat your heart out, California, but little middle-of-America Iowa is closer to hitting the halfway mark to 100% powered by wind than you are.
MidAmerican’s recently announced around its new Wind XII project which will position the company to hit its 100% renewable energy goal and significantly contribute to Iowa’s ongoing leadership in renewable energy. This will further its trajectory to become the first state to generate 40% of its electricity from wind. Iowa currently generates over 36% of its electricity from wind power, ranking first in the nation for wind energy as a share of total electricity generation.
As a traditionally conservative state, there’s an interesting and potentially surprising angle on how Iowa became a renewable energy leader and the role it plays as a significant economic driver in the state (and across the Midwest) when you consider the following factors:
Think jobs: Nearly 9,000 Iowans are employed by wind power equipment makers, and thousands of other construction and technical jobs are created when new wind farms are built. Circling back on workforce development, numerous Iowa community colleges provide programs that facilitate the training needs of wind energy companies. Iowa Lakes Community College’s program was the first of its kind in the nation.
Support your rural communities: Farmers and landowners receive around $25 million annually from land lease payments for wind turbines. Its income they can count on when commodity prices fluctuate or weather damages the harvest. Local communities also benefit from property taxes paid by wind-farm operators.
New investment: Iowa is the easiest location for companies to purchase renewable energy, which is increasingly a priority for companies. Wind energy has brought more than $13.5 billion in investments from companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google that have chosen to locate energy-intensive facilities in our state.
More than wind: In addition to wind, Iowa has solar installations in nearly all of the state’s 99 counties. Earlier this month, Iowa-based Ideal Energy announced its plans to begin construction this summer on what will be one of Iowa’s largest solar arrays. The 1.1MW array, over 200 times the size of a typical residential array, will cover five acres of land at the Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa and generate enough energy to meet one-third of the University’s annual electricity demand. It will also include a 1 megawatt-hour battery energy storage system, the largest of its kind in the Midwest, using the cutting-edge NEXTracker NX Flow integrated solar-plus-storage system.