Following Governor Branstad’s announcement Wednesday that MidAmerican Energy will make a new $1.9 billion dollar investment in Iowa wind energy production, Iowa Environmental Council executive director Ralph Rosenberg made the following statement:
“The Iowa Environmental Council and our supporters across the state welcome the announcement that MidAmerican Energy will add 1,050 megawatts of new wind energy capacity in Iowa. Governor Branstad is correct that wind energy brings new economic opportunities to Iowa not only from the manufacturing, installation, and operations of wind turbines, but also because the availability of renewable energy in our state makes Iowa a more attractive place to locate a business.”
“As a steadfast supporter of wind energy in Iowa, the Council has called for our state to set new goals for wind energy generation of installing 10 gigawatts of capacity by 2020 and 20 gigawatts by 2030. Today’s announcement by MidAmerican will push Iowa past the 6 gigawatt mark, meaning we are well on our way to accomplishing these important goals. Iowans have embraced wind energy because they know it provides jobs and economic opportunities while reducing Iowa’s dependence on fossil fuels and imported sources of energy.
“Announcements like Wednesday’s are not the only way Iowa policymakers need to show leadership for renewable energy in Iowa. Our leaders must continue their calls for making long-term extensions to the federal wind energy production tax credit. The state could do more to promote small scale, locally owned renewable energy development by adopting utility incentive rates (sometimes called “feed-in tariffs”) to ensure that Iowans who install solar panels or a wind turbine receive a fair price for electricity they generate. It is also important for Iowa’s public policies to encourage development of the state’s underutilized solar resource as well as energy efficiency.”