#AmericanWindWeek: Spotlight Iowa

We’ve seen an overwhelming amount of support from coast to coast over the first three days of the inaugural #AmericanWindWeek. Keep an eye out for a post featuring some of those highlights tomorrow, but in the meantime I wanted to take a quick look at Iowa.

The country’s leader at over 36 percent wind-generated electricity, it should come as no surprise that Iowans have been leading the charge so far.

Gov. Kim Reynolds took to The Hill today and explained why wind has been so important to her state:

“Iowa didn’t become an energy powerhouse by accident. Back in the 1980s, we enacted the nation’s first law incentivizing utilities that bought more renewable power.

That began decades of innovation and investment in Iowa’s energy sector. Fast forward to today where we’re now reaping the rewards: low-cost electricity, new jobs and support for rural communities…

We’ve found that renewable energy distinguishes Iowa from other industrialized states competing for projects. That’s why we don’t just mention wind energy on recruitment trips — we lead with it.”

Other Iowa lawmakers, like Rep. David Young, share Gov. Reynolds point of view:

In Newton, Iowa, home to two wind factories (TPI Composites and Trinity Structural Towers), the Newton Daily News reported on what wind has meant to the town of 15,000, and how its wind workers are participating in #AmericanWindWeek:

To celebrate American Wind Week locally, TPI employees will create a giant banner, as well as do volunteer work within the community to raise awareness about wind power.

“This is my job,”said TPI employee Tammy Farver. “We’re keeping jobs here, it’s nice that good paying jobs are here in Newton, close to home.”

Elsewhere, in Mahaska County, MidAmerican Energy held an open house on the site of what will soon be the Prairie Wind Farm project. Locals got a first-look at the turbines that will make up the project, which will bring huge benefits to the area:

“Every landowner who’s participating in the project, they get easement payments from us. So, over the life of the project, we’ll pay out $55 million for Prairie area landowners who help us host facilities on the property,” said Project Manager Adam Jablonski. “There’s also the broader benefit to the entire community through property tax payments. Over the life of the project, we’ll pay $77 million to Mahaska County. That goes to help everybody in the community, through improved schools, roads and bridges. So it’s really not just the people who host the facilities, but the broader community that benefits.”

MidAmerican Energy has made Iowa wind energy a huge part of its portfolio, as have other in-state providers like Alliant Energy, which just announced a $900 million wind expansion in the state.

Iowa is a perfect example of wind’s ability to create jobs and attract new financial resources, so it makes perfect sense Iowans are touting their state’s success during #AmericanWindWeek.

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