Iowa leading the charge in wind energy

The move to more renewable sources of energy is proving to be a breeze locally, with a new study showing that Iowa leads the nation for wind power.

Mike Prior is executive director of Iowa Wind Energy Association, which issued the report. He says more than 28 percent of the energy produced in Iowa now comes from wind generation, the highest percentage of any state.

“And by the end of 2015, our expected megawatt total will be 6,300, which will be over about 30 percent of our entire generation for the state of Iowa that will come from wind energy,” he adds.

In addition to good wind resources, Prior credits the utilities in the state in helping to lead the way to more wind generation, along with supportive state lawmakers and policies.

Prior notes that wind energy is affordable energy, as electricity rates in Iowa have remained below the national average as the amount of wind generation has grown steadily over the past decade.

“For example, Iowa’s electricity rates are 30 percent lower than Wisconsin electric rates, and Wisconsin only gets about 2 percent of its energy from wind power, compared to our 28.5 percent,” he points out.

Prior also says wind energy is good for the local economy, with about 6,000 Iowans employed in the industry, and landowners receiving more than $16 million annually in wind turbine land lease payments.