Iowa proves wind energy successes, disproves myths

Posted on April 19, 2009. Filed under: Wind |

From a report by Teresa Galluzzo and David Osterberg published by The Iowa Policy Project:

It’s 2009, do you know where your power is coming from? According to new estimates by the Iowa Utilities Board, wind fuels about 15 percent of the electricity generated in Iowa. This is a big increase from the 5 percent wind-powered generation estimated in 2006.

There have been consistent signs that Iowa has been increasing its wind power, including the ones right before our eyes: the construction of towers and spinning of turbine blades. Iowa has also regularly been at the top in national rankings of states’ wind production. As of the end of 2008, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) tabulated that Iowa was second in the nation in installed wind power capacity. Iowa had installed 2,791 megawatts (MW) of nameplate capacity by year-end 2008, equal to 11 percent of the nation’s total wind capacity.

The number of wind turbine-related companies setting up business in Iowa is also an indicator of the growth of Iowa’s wind industry. Today, nine companies are dedicated to producing or repairing blades, towers, turbines and turbine components operating or planning operations in Iowa. Despite the current slowdown in demand for turbines and components, these companies employ or plan to employ about 1,400 Iowans. . . .

Iowa’s outstanding growth in wind production calls into question the common argument that the near-term costs of reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change are too high to justify action. Looking at Iowa’s electricity prices since 1998 — the year before Iowa’s wind boom began — our electricity prices have remained below the national average and in fact have not increased as quickly as the national average price in the last three years (2005 to 2007).8 Not only did Iowa’s wind generation increase during this period, natural gas generation grew and there was a corresponding decrease in our reliance on coal.9 Assuming a somewhat similar portion of the wind-generated electricity produced in Iowa was actually consumed in Iowa, wind’s great expansion did not cause prices to spike.

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2 Responses to “Iowa proves wind energy successes, disproves myths”

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According to new estimates?

AWEA tabulated?

Creative extrapolation? Yes

Proof? No

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