Iowa: Now 20% Wind-Powered


Written by Brian Merchant, a Treehugger blogger

Iowa now gets a higher percentage of its power from wind than any other state in the nation. The Des Moines Register is reporting that Iowa’s wind generation hit the 20% mark last quarter, supplying the state with a full one fifth of its energy needs. That’s really good — like, Denmark good. Stats like this make it harder and harder for cleantech foes to deny that renewable power is fast becoming an integral part of the American energy mix.

The Register has the details:

Iowa’s wind generation reached 20 percent of the state’s total electricity network during the second quarter, the American Wind Energy Association reports … A major boost came from MidAmerican Energy’s new 594-megawatt wind farm near Adair, the first of three major wind projects the Des Moines utility plans for this year.MidAmerican already had 1,330 megawatts of wind generation capacity on its system. The utility’s peak loads this summer have totaled about 4,700 megawatts. The second-largest wind generator in Iowa is Florida-based NextEra, which has about 800 megawatts of wind farm capacity mostly in central and northern Iowa.

Iowa is now the second biggest wind power market in the nation, with over 4,000 megawatts of installed capacity. Texas has more than twice that, and currently leads the market with 9,000 MW. But Texas, of course, is much more populous than Iowa — which makes the small Midwestern state’s effective embrace of wind power all the more remarkable.

And it marks a welcome trend: a resurgence of the domestic wind power industry, which, along with seemingly every other industry in America, lost its footing after the 2008 crash. The American Wind Energy Association reports that “7,354 megawatts of new capacity was under construction nationally by July 1, more than at any time since the third quarter of 2008.”

Good news indeed — Keep the wind power coming.

This post was originally published by Treehugger.

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Photo from Andrew Buff via flickr creative commons


Dianne Robertson
Dianne Robertson6 years ago

They probably made it to 100% during the straw poll last week! But, seriously THATS GREAT BUT NOT ENOUGH!. Building wind and solar power systems would be a JOB CREATOR and an ENERGY SAVER !

Thomas A.
Thomas A6 years ago

Ultimately, we have to be smarter about using electricity. We do need to use less. Even if nothing is done, our national grid will be brought to its knees by 2020, based on the history of the growth of electricity demand.

One way to use less would be to replace all lights, residential and commercial, with LEDs. The technology has grown to the point that extremely high-intensity lighting is commercially available in a variety of colors, or custom colors if your wallet is deep enough. Household LEDs use 10% of the electricity of compact fluorescents with the same light output, without the Mercury. LEDs are virtually indestructable and last many years.

Also, towns and cities should use less decorative lighting. Or, at least, have laws requiring that the lights be turned of at, say, 10pm on weeknights, and midnight or 2am on weekends. Cities large and small have entire bridges lit up, some span half a mile, a mile, or more! Looks nice, but a serious waste of electricity.

In general, only walkways need to be lit for pedestrian safety. For roads, cars have headlights for a reason.

Thomas A.
Thomas A6 years ago

Actually, office buildings with those big, smooth, reflective windows are a major cause of bird deaths. A NYC school project gathered all the dead birds over two full city blocks in Manhattan. Among the dead, they found at least two each of 45 different species, many of which were migratory - they don't live in the NYC area, they were just passing through on their seasonal migrations.

Wind power is great, particularly for places like Iowa that are so flat you can watch a ca drive along a road for three days without moving. The Great Planes states and the coastal states are perfect for wind power. Just like every state below the parallel passing through the Mason Dixon line should put solar arrays on every roof, because most of the usable daylight is available all year 'round in those regions.

Heck, I have relatives in southern Pennsylvania that have a solar array on their roof, and they are averaging over 40kWh per day since May. It will be interesting to see how well it works this winter.

A great thing about windmills is that they do not heavily restrict the usefulness of the land around them. Cattle can graze right up to the base; deer, buffalo, bear, wolf, groundhog, etc., would not be affected after the installation is complete. Crops can be planted right around the bases...except for the occasional bird or bat, it's pretty slick. The only problem is aesthetics, where most people would want to keep them at a distance from national parks and other natural

Bruce S.
Bruce S6 years ago

What is EVERY OTHER STATE waiting for?

Sameer Tendulkar
Sameer Tendulkar6 years ago


Marilyn L.
Marilyn L6 years ago


Michael Clegg
Michael C6 years ago

Howard C, As for your remarks concerning input/output, this is true with everything we consume or utilize in our daily lives.

A single solar module will return 18Xs the energy that it required tom produce it, should we not continue to utilize solar power.

The suv you drive is a real net looser, yet few choose to examine its impact, "it is a natural element of life", right.

I would agree that people need to learn how to decrease their wasteful consumption, maybe you can lead the way for the rest of us and possibly we will follow.

Christine S. Statistically, every 30 wind turbines over a one year period. might produce one bird kill. Note: Taken from a Government study on wind turbines and probable bird kills.

Cats kill hundreds of thousands of birds per year, as do winds, cars, trucks, children with BB guns, storms, lightning, electrical wires, cell phone towers and their transmissions.

I believe it is safe to say that wind turbines are very low on the list of probable causes.

Grace Adams
Grace Adams6 years ago

It will take time, but this country needs to get 100% of its electricity from sustainable energy sources and to replace petroleum with bio-diesel from algae.

Tom Sullivan
Tom C Sullivan6 years ago

Hey it is a start, wish all states would try harder

Howard C.
.6 years ago

In part this is good news but energy went in to producing these turbines, more has gone in to the cables that connect them to the grid, etc. Maybe the answer is to use less electricity not find different ways of producing more!