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Report: Iowa can meet carbon reduction goal with wind power alone

Association says modest increase required to offset reduction

Wind turbines in operation at the Laurel Wind Project in Marshall County on Friday, June 20, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)
Wind turbines in operation at the Laurel Wind Project in Marshall County on Friday, June 20, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)

With only a modest increase in wind turbine installation, a new report contends Iowa can meet its proposed goal of 16 percent carbon dioxide reduction by 2030.

The Iowa Wind Energy Association, a trade association representing the industry, on Monday released data showing Iowa has 1,212 megawatts of wind energy being built and in service by 2016. That would get the state more than half way (52 percent) to meeting its proposed carbon dioxide reduction goal.

Developers would need to build and have in operation an estimated 1,100 megawatts of additional wind energy by 2030 or an average of 74 megawatts per year between 2016 and 2030.

Iowa could meet a more stringent carbon dioxide reduction goal of 30 percent by building 3,100 additional megawatts of wind energy by 2030 and take no other action, according to IWEA. An average of 210 megawatts per year would need to be built between 2016 and 2030.

The IWEA report contends the industry could meet that goal, noting that Iowa has added 1,000 megawatts or more of wind per year in recent years. From 2008 through 2015, Iowa will have added an average of more than 635 megawatts per year of wind energy.

Iowa’s wind energy industry employs more than 6,000 people. If neighboring states turn to wind energy to meet their carbon dioxide reduction goals, Mike Prior, IWEA executive director, said wind turbine manufacturers and component suppliers in Iowa will benefit through increased sales and service.

“Additional Iowa wind power can be used by other Midwestern states to meet their Clean Power Plan Goals,” Prior said. “Among the benefits Iowa receives are increased jobs, landowner payments and property tax revenue, in addition to a cleaner environment.”

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Prior said Iowa wind energy developers also can sell additional wind energy over and above what is needed in Iowa to other states to help them meet their carbon dioxide reduction goals.

By building 7,500 megawatts of additional wind generation by 2030, or an average of 500 megawatts per year, Iowa could offer carbon dioxide reduction of 15 million metric tons or the entire reduction target of Missouri or Wisconsin.

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