Wind power is becoming our new cash crop

The American Wind Energy Association recently released a new report “A Wind Vision for New Growth in Iowa” based on the latest research in the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States” report. The DOE report shows definitively that wind energy can become one of America’s top electricity sources by 2050, while saving consumers money.

Wind power is becoming our new cash crop

As a farmer in Floyd County with wind turbines on my land, I can tell you that we have learned firsthand that wind power is indeed a cash crop and good for farmers. It provides a stable, long-term income stream and makes it easier for us to plan for the future.

The latest numbers from the DOE estimate that annual land lease payments will reach $55.52 million annually by 2030. Here in Floyd County, I have six 1.5-MW wind turbines on my property. We get annual easement checks from those turbines. One thing we’ve used the income for is to purchase our own smaller turbine to provide electricity for our own operations.

Wind energy creates a more diverse energy grid, which adds to grid stability and puts money back into the pockets of consumers by shielding consumers from the fluctuation of natural gas prices. The report finds that Iowa consumers would save $3.68 billion cumulatively through 2050 on their electricity bills.

The more policies that can help encourage more wind power growth and solar power growth, the better. One such policy is the Clean Power Plan, which will enhance the growing wind industry in Iowa, along with other renewable industries and energy efficiency programs. It helps farmers, it helps communities and it makes Iowa a national leader on something that’s really exciting.

I’m also a Floyd County Supervisor, and I’ve also seen firsthand how renewable energy truly benefits our rural communities. The AWEA report finds that annual property tax revenue will reach $136.93 million annually by 2030 if the Wind Vision goals are met. In Floyd County, these taxes bring a steady stream of tax revenue to our communities, which fund our roads and bridges. In addition, Floyd County has taken addition steps toward providing cleaner, healthier energy options for our citizens.

Iowa is a renewable powerhouse, which provides economic benefits to farmers like me. Embracing diverse energy solutions and sources like wind makes sense for consumers, the state and the health of future generations.

• Mark Kuhn is a farmer and County Supervisor in Floyd County, IA.