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Iowa leaders announce Power Up Iowa, new coalition for state wind industry

FILE PHOTO: Wind turbines, part of MidAmerican Energy’s Laurel Project, turn in the wind in a field along Lafayette Avenue near Laurel on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
FILE PHOTO: Wind turbines, part of MidAmerican Energy’s Laurel Project, turn in the wind in a field along Lafayette Avenue near Laurel on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

Iowa officials have announced plans to continue to push the state forward as a national wind leader.

On Thursday in Ankeny, Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg launched Power Up Iowa, a statewide coalition of renewable energy advocates pushing for local, state and federal policies to strengthen and build Iowa’s wind industry.

“Iowa is a leader in wind energy, and we’re witnessing its positive impact across the state,” Reynolds in a Thursday news release. “Supporting wind in Iowa has led to educational opportunities, job creation and investment in rural communities. It’s also helped us attract companies like Facebook, Apple, Google and Microsoft due to our low-cost renewable energy.”

Power Up Iowa, which is an initiative of the American Wind Energy Association, aims to educate and build awareness and conversation around continued wind energy investment in Iowa, according to the news release.

Representatives in the wind industry, economic development and community officials also participated in the announcement.

“Iowa is a great place to do business, in part due to the investment and infrastructure for renewable energy,” Matt Sexton, community development regional manager for Facebook, said in the release. “We are thrilled to call Iowa home and support our data center operations with 100 percent renewable energy.”

U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst also spoke to the importance of Iowa’s wind industry in the release.

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More than a third of Iowa’s energy generation comes from wind, with the industry representing more than 7,300 megawatts. The Iowa Environmental Council estimated late last year that 2,600 megawatts were under construction and another roughly 1,800 megawatts were in the stage of advanced development.

Iowa is second only to Texas in wind energy installation.

By the end of 2017, close to half the state’s 99 counties were home to utility-scale wind turbines or had such projects in development.

Much of the state’s stock of wind turbines have been built by the two largest investor-owned utility companies in Iowa, MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy.

• Comments: (319) 398-8309; mitchell.schmidt@thegazette.com

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