Iowa wind energy contributes to milestone

The American Wind Energy Association announced that the U.S. has exceeded 50 gigawatts, or 50,000 megawatts, of installed capacity.

The following community wind projects in lowa contributed to reaching the goal:

• AG Land 5 and 5 (3.2 MW)

• Cumberland Rose Wind Energy (1.6 MW)

• Forward Fontanelle Power (1.6 MW)

• Greenfield Wind Power (1.5 MW)

• Meadow Ridge Wind Energy (1.6 MW)

• Sky Volt (1.6 MW)

lowa leads the nation in the number of wind manufacturers and wind related businesses, was the first state to exceed 20 percent of its electrical generation from wind, leads the nation in the number of wind jobs and is second to only Texas in installed capacity. lowa is one of only four states that would benefit the most from increased wind investment and have outstanding wind resources.

lowa Gov. Terry Branstad said, “l am pleased with the continued progress within the wind energy industry. The 50 GW milestone comes at a time when this still young industry is helping increase domestic energy production and diversifying our nation’s energy portfolio. The State of lowa has been an important part of the industry’s tremendous growth.”

“l am proud that my home district and state has helped push the U.S. pass this historic threshold of 50,000 megawatts of energy produced from wind energy,” U.S. Rep. Tom Latham (R-lowa) said in comments made to the American Wind Energy Association. “Wind energy has proven to be a clean and affordable energy source for residents of lowa and we look forward to supporting more wind projects across the state.”

Benefits of increased wind farm construction include additional jobs in operations and maintenance, manufacturing, wind related services, increased landowner lease payments and increased property tax base. The goal of the lowa Wind Energy Association is to attain 20,000 megawatts of installed capacity by 2030. By the end of 2012, lowa will have close
to 5,000 megawatts of installed capacity.

Nationally, it will take 300,000 megawatts of wind energy to attain 20 percent of all electrical generation in the nation from wind energy. Currently, there are 50,332 megawatts of installed capacity with another 10,300 under construction. When those projects are completed, the U.S. will have 60,632 megawatts of installed capacity, and will be at one-fifth of the national goal.

By Harold Prior is executive director of the Iowa Wind Energy Association. He may be contacted at (515) 320-4457 or at