With wind power now a mainstream energy source, industry events dot every month of the calendar. One event set for a couple of weeks from now, however, is just a little extra special for a couple of reasons—location and speakers. In fact, the two are connected.
Scheduled to speak at the 2012 Annual Iowa Wind Energy Association (IWEA) Conference, which takes place April 9-11 in Des Moines, are Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R), Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), and AWEA CEO Denise Bode, among others. Iowa, with wind penetration levels that approach 20 percent of the state’s electricity portfolio, is one of the industry leaders in that category and others. That’s in part thanks to policies championed by leaders like Branstad, who implemented the nation’s first renewable energy target in his first stint as governor in the 1980s, and Grassley, now often referred to as the “father of the PTC” for his work in developing the Production Tax Credit and getting it passed for the first time. With leaders like Branstad and Grassley, no wonder Iowa is a wind energy leader (and, incidentally, is reaping the economic benefits, with over 200 wind power-related businesses now operating in 56 Iowa counties).
Given Iowa’s leading position in the wind industry and the visionary leaders the state has produced, this year’s title for the annual conference is especially appropriate and underscores the event’s relevance to those outside the state—“Iowa Wind Power: A Model for America.” The list of prestigious speakers, meanwhile, goes on: U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Representatives Steve King (R-Iowa), Tom Latham (R-Iowa), and Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa). King, for one, has been a vocal champion in the all-important push to get the PTC, which is slated to expire at the end of the year, extended as soon as possible (see U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA): PTC is jobs engine conservatives should support, Feb. 17). With mere months left before the scheduled expiration, members of the industry’s supply chain are already being impacted.
For more information on the conference, go to www.iowawindenergy.org.