Iowa – Releases report on wind energy development

Governor Chet Culver released the results of a report prepared by the Upper Midwest Transmission Development Initiative (UMTDI) that identified six renewable energy transmission corridors connecting more than 15,000 megawatts of wind power development in the region.

If fully developed, the lines within these corridors will help realize the full economic potential of the region’s wind farm and other clean energy resources.

“Iowa has been a leader in the development of the renewable energy economy,” Culver said. “Under our watch Iowa has grown to be second nationally in wind turbines generation and first in the number of people employed in wind turbines manufacturing. We have also invested in energy-related job training programs. But in setting our sights on the next level of energy leadership, we knew more investment in infrastructure, like transmission systems, was essential. That is why I am pleased to announce the results of this report today. I now challenge our utilities and transmission companies to use what UMTDI has created.”

Of the six corridors, two are located in Iowa. One parallels the northern border of the state and one is in mid-state. The economic impact from the build-out of the transmission lines is substantial. It is estimated nearly 600 jobs will be created. These jobs include electricians, linemen, technicians, equipment operators, mechanics, steel workers, engineers and concrete workers. The executive summary of the report and full report are attached.

UMTDI’s Report Findings

1. In 2009, UMTDI developed a set of cost allocation principles that can serve as a foundation for ongoing cost allocation discussions in the region and the country.

2. It also chose 20 renewable energy zones within the five-state region to serve as proxies for the likely regional growth in renewable energy. These zones were reasonably balanced between those close to customers (and thus requiring less transmission investment) and those with a stronger wind resource (which are generally farther from customers and thus require more transmission capacity). The 15,000 megawatts of potential wind is the amount required to serve the existing clean energy obligations of the five states and the zones provide a basis upon which additional wind can be developed for export to other regions.

3. The six renewable energy transmission corridors span the five-state region, connect the 20 renewable energy zones, and if built upon, provide for reliability and transmission congestion relief in addition to renewable energy benefits. The corridors were chosen after extensive work by UMTDI with assistance from the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (Midwest ISO) and transmission owners in the region.

UMTDI was created in 2008 by Governors Culver, Pawlenty, Hoeven, Rounds, and Doyle. UMTDI had as its goal the continuing resolution of transmission planning and cost allocation problems that limit the needed build-out of large transmission lines in the region.