Iowa has been a leader in wind energy for decades and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future

Iowa has been a leader in wind energy for decades and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.

Last year, Iowa generated 36.6 percent of its electricity from wind, the most ever for any state. That figure is expected to keep growing, with the state’s two largest utilities having already started $4 billion in additional wind expansion projects.

“Iowa became a national leader in wind-energy generation through early investments. Iowans reap the benefits with some of the lowest electric rates in the nation,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement after a meeting in Washington, D.C., with President Donald Trump.

During a rally in Cedar Rapids last week, Trump dumped on wind energy, saying, “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories.” He paused before adding, “as the birds fall to the ground,” a reference to birds killed by turbines.

We hope Reynolds stood up to the president on the issue, as Trump was wrong. Environmentalists and politicians said the president’s suggestion that wind is unreliable was outdated and off-base, and noted that bird deaths have been minimized and aren’t a source of controversy in Iowa.

In his pandering to the fossil fuel industry, the president took an unnecessary shot at the wind energy industry.

Des Moines-based Mid American Energy, a leader in wind, told The Associated Press that using a balanced mix of traditional and renewable energy sources allows the company to deliver power to customers regardless of whether the wind blows.

MidAmerican said its adoption of wind has helped make its rates among the lowest in the nation, according to the AP. That has also made Iowa an attractive state for companies that use lots of power but want it to be clean. Microsoft, Facebook and Google have each built large data centers in Iowa in recent years.

A recent state report says 6,000 Iowa workers are employed in the wind energy industry, including those who manufacture and install wind turbines. Farmers also benefit from receiving payments for leasing their land to host them.

Reynolds recently helped develop a state energy plan that calls for building upon the “tremendous growth of Iowa’s wind energy industry.” The plan recommends developing more energy storage infrastructure to house excess wind generated by turbines, which operate best during daylight.

We applaud Gov. Reynolds, MidAmerican and other leaders in Iowa for continuing the effort to make the energy we use as sustainable and renewable as possible. It’s a resource that not only helps the environment but also provides jobs and other economic benefits to the state.