Alliant Energy recently had the opportunity to help recognize a critical leader in the growth of renewable energy.
Earlier this month, we joined the American Wind Energy Association at our Upland Prairie Wind Farm near Everly to present U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, with AWEA’s Wind Champion Award. This award recognizes his role in the development of wind energy in America.
Grassley often is referred to as the “father” of American wind energy. That’s because of his work on the federal renewable energy production tax credit. Wind energy has created more than 7,000 jobs in Iowa and has marked Iowa’s role as a national wind energy leader.
Last year, wind farms in Iowa generated 37 percent of the electricity produced in the state, a larger share than that of any other state. Iowa’s wind industry represents more than $14.2 billion in private investment and is a drought-proof crop for Iowa farmers with land lease payments totaling more than $20 million each year.
We built our first wind farm in Iowa in 2008. Now, we’re in the process of adding more. This will help us reduce emissions, reduce water usage and provide financial and other benefits to local communities. Our clean-energy vision includes eliminating all existing coal from our energy mix by 2050.
Our Upland Prairie Wind Farm is the latest chapter in our efforts to advance clean energy in Iowa. When it’s finished next spring, this 300 megawatt site will be able to power more than 108,000 homes a year.
Thanks to leaders such as Grassley and others across the political spectrum who champion energy innovation, we can continue to leverage wind energy as a part of the solution for a clean-energy future.
• Patricia Kampling is chairwoman and CEO of Alliant Energy.