Launched wind energy revolution now making 20 percent of Iowa?s electricity

Made in Iowa: candidates to sign huge wind turbine blade at straw poll. Blade factory created jobs in town left by Maytag.

Candidates for President and Iowa voters will have the opportunity to literally touch the economic power of wind energy at this year’s presidential straw poll. TPI Composites, Inc., a leading American wind turbines component manufacturer, will display a 130-foot-long wind turbine blade, which was made right in Iowa, at a factory in Newton.

Wind power is not only a mainstream source of electricity in Iowa, producing 20 percent of the state’s electricity, but across the country as well. The American wind power industry has installed 35 percent of all new electric generating capacity since 2007.

Wind power has been a growing contributor to Iowa’s economy for the last 30 years, and today, Iowa is a national leader in wind farm installations and manufacturing. The industry has spurred more than $5 billion in investment in Iowa, making it one of the state’s fastest-growing sources of manufacturing jobs.

All of the Republican presidential candidates are planning to sign the blade during the run-up to Saturday’s straw poll, and the general public can sign it as well. In addition, Gov. Terry Branstad, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, U.S. Reps. Tom Latham and Steve King, and a host of other Republican Iowa elected officials plan to put their pens to the Iowa-made wind blade. The TPI blade is located next to the American Wind Power tent.

"Today wind turbines are almost as much a part of Iowa’s fabric as corn," said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. "Thanks to over 20 years of sound policy, wind power now comprises over 20 percent of the electricity powering the Hawkeye State, and the people of Iowa are glad it’s here. A recent statewide poll showed that 81 percent of Iowa voters believe the growth of the wind industry has been good for Iowa’s economy, and they would pick wind over any other power source by more than 3-to-1.

"And just as wind power has arrived in Iowa, it has arrived right here in Ames this week—in the form of a TPI Composites blade. We thank TPI Composites and General Electric for sharing this product with the presidential candidates, with attendees of the straw poll, and with America."

The TPI Composites factory in Newton, Iowa, is just one of many wind energy facilities in the state: Iowa has over 200 wind-related businesses in 55 counties. The blade on display at the straw poll was constructed by a team of 700 people and uses the same design as many of the blades currently generating power throughout the state, whose wind farms total 3,675 MW wind farm in capacity. General Electric is a major customer for TPI’s blades.

Where other manufacturing industries have failed, wind power has succeeded. Newton, in fact, was once home to a Maytag plant that closed its doors and moved overseas in 2006. A portion of the Maytag facility is now occupied by another wind power supply chain member, Trinity Structural Towers. And TPI Composites is now providing well-paying U.S. jobs ranging from construction labor to aerospace design.

Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Branstad in 1983, Iowa enacted the nation’s first renewable energy standard, which required Iowa’s major utilities to include renewables in their portfolios, thus establishing a market for wind power so that the industry had the stability that would allow it to grow roots. Today, with a stable renewable policy in place for almost 30 years, Iowa has been able to take advantage of the economic benefits of wind energy such as job creation and manufacturing growth, new tax revenue for rural areas that need it, and land lease payments to farmers and landowners.

Media Advisory: Pre-straw poll media reception to honor Gov. Branstad, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday

Launched wind energy revolution now making 20 percent of Iowa’s electricity

All credentialed media are invited to a reception Friday night before the Iowa straw poll in honor of Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, whose policies in 1983 sparked the industry that now makes 20 percent of Iowa’s electricity from wind power.

Matt Strawn, chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, will join Branstad and Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, at the wind power party, from 5:30 to 7:30 in the Iowa State Center’s Scheman Building. An evening of hors d’oeuvres, drinks, music, and fun wind-related activities is planned.

Nearby, "candidates’ row" has been decorated by a 130-foot wind turbine blade made in Newton, Iowa. Candidates and straw poll voters are signing their names to the blade, as Branstad will do Saturday morning at 10 am.

Branstad and Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island recently led 24 governors in a letter seeking six national policies to sustain jobs, homegrown energy, and economic development from wind power, such as Iowa has enjoyed. (Full text is available at

Other state Republicans who have led Iowa’s wind energy revolution include Sen. Charles Grassley, father of the Production Tax Credit for renewable energy, which for several years has helped the wind energy industry grow with stable tax rates.

WHO: Denise Bode, CEO, American Wind Energy Association

The Honorable Terry Branstad,Governor of Iowa (R)

Harold Prior, Executive Director, Iowa Wind Energy Association

Dave Drescher, Exelon

Shane Sterling, Availon

Steve Lockard, TPI Composites

Mark Parriot, TPI Composites

Jeff Bishop, EDP Renewables

WHEN: Friday, August 12, 2011

5:30 – 7:30pm

WHERE: Scheman Building

Iowa State Center, Ames, IA