New report outlines potential for Iowa wind energy to reduce carbon emissions

Iowa has long been a national leader in wind energy, and there are new opportunities to continue to be an industry trailblazer.

Today, the Iowa Wind Energy Association (IWEA) released a new report, “Iowa’s Wind Potential for Addressing 111(d) Goals: The Potential for Tapping Iowa’s Wind Resource to Reduce CO2 Emissions,” that analyzes Iowa’s current wind energy production and forecasts the state’s ability to use wind energy to achieve carbon pollution reductions under the proposed Clean Power Plan.

By establishing state-specific carbon reduction goals, the proposed Clean Power Plan would cut 30 percent of the 2005 carbon levels from the country’s existing power plants by 2030. Iowa’s proposed goal is a 16 percent carbon reduction from 2012 levels.

The IWEA report, co-authored by wind industry experts Dan Turner, Ph.D. and Thomas A. Wind, P.E., found that Iowa is not only well-positioned to use renewable wind energy to meet Iowa’s carbon reduction goal under the proposed Clean Power Plan, but Iowa’s leadership in the renewable wind industry also leaves the state well-positioned to help other states meet reduction goals in a way that benefits our economy.

3_InfographicAccording to the report, by 2016, Iowa will already be more than half way (52 percent) to meeting its 16 percent reduction goal with wind alone given the 1,212 MW being installed by 2016. Iowa would only have to install a modest amount (an estimated 1,100 MW) of additional wind energy and take no other actions to meet the goal by 2030.

Iowa could even achieve a more stringent carbon reduction goal by 2030 through increased wind energy development. Building another 3,100 MW of wind would allow Iowa to meet a 30 percent carbon reduction target, almost twice the target proposed by EPA. This is certainly achievable for Iowa, given that between 2008 and 2015, Iowa will have added 635 MW/year of wind energy capacity, far more than the 210 MW/year that would need to be built by 2030 to meet a 30 percent carbon reduction.

4_InfographicThe report also examines how the Clean Power Plan presents an opportunity for Iowa’s wind energy industry to help other Midwest states meet carbon reduction goals. For example, if Iowa built 7,500 MW of wind by 2030 (an average of 500 MW/year), the entire reduction target of Wisconsin or Missouri could be met. Or, if other Midwest states build wind within their borders to comply with carbon reduction goals, Iowa manufacturers and wind-related businesses could help meet demand for turbines, components and services.

The report also notes the economic benefits of wind energy. The state’s wind energy industry currently employs more than 6,000 Iowans, and landowners receive more than $16 million annually in lease payments. By the end of 2015, total capital investment in wind development will be more than $10 billion, and the total increased assessed value of property for wind turbines in Iowa through 2013 is estimated to be $2.6 billion. Wind energy is also more resistant to changes in cost than other energy alternatives.

With the support of policies and programs that encourage wind energy growth, Iowa will continue on its current track to not only achieve but exceed its proposed carbon reduction goal with wind alone, positioning Iowa to help other states achieve their goals in a way that benefits Iowa’s economy and job market.

Read an executive summary of the report
Read the full report

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