17 Oct New Report Finds More Wind Energy Would Provide Benefits for Iowa Businesses, Homeowners
Adding 10,000 MW of Wind Could Save Ratepayers $12.6 Billion Over 25 Years
DES MOINES, IA — A new report detailing the benefits of wind energy for Iowa consumers, both corporate and residential, was released today at event with the Greater Des Moines Partnership. The report models the electricity rate impacts of doubling the currently operating and planned wind power production in the state, and was produced by the A Renewable America campaign in collaboration with the American Wind Energy Association.
“Wind energy investments in Iowa have been a significant driver in attracting advanced manufacturing companies and data centers to our state,” said Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership. “Iowa’s expanding wind energy portfolio and commitment to renewable energy is also an important factor in recruiting and retaining top talent.”
As a national leader in wind energy production, the analysis finds even larger consumer savings are possible with further expansion of wind power in the state. Iowa generated 31.3 percent of its electricity from wind last year while maintaining consumer costs below the national average. The report found that adding another 10,000 megawatts of wind beyond what is currently operating and planned would save Iowa consumers about $12.6 billion on net over the next 25 years, with average savings in excess of $500 million. The average industrial consumer would, on net, save about $825,000 on electric bills and the average resident household would save about $3,200 over that period if their electricity needs were met with wind energy.
“Iowa is already a leader in wind energy with only more growth visible on the horizon, said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). “Building our state’s capacity to deliver renewable energy to companies and consumers will continue to set Iowa apart from the competition.”
The report also detailed how Iowa consumers benefited from existing wind last year. In 2015, existing Iowa wind provided more than $500 million in gross benefits, or $28 for each MWh. The report also found that wind energy is expected to become an even better investment over time as other fuels are projected to increase in price, according to projections from the U.S. Department of Energy, Wind energy costs are largely fixed for the life of the project and can even decrease due to inflation, while traditional fuels such as natural gas are expected to increase in cost.
“MidAmerican Energy is committed to providing affordable and reliable energy to Iowa consumers,” said Kathryn Kunert, vice president, economic connections and integration. “Wind is an integral part of our energy portfolio that helps us keep energy prices stable and affordable over the long-term. Our rates today are the ninth lowest nationally – about 36 percent below the national average. With our 100 percent renewable energy goal, we look forward to Wind XI, our largest wind project to date that will be built without a rate increase to consumers or assistance from the state.”
In addition to consumer savings, wind energy also creates jobs and provides economic development opportunities to the state. More than 6,000 people are directly employed in the wind industry, and Iowa landowners receive more than $17 million annually in land lease payments in addition to local taxes paid that help build infrastructure like roads, bridges and schools.
“I have spoken with county leaders across the state of Iowa that have witnessed firsthand the positive effects of wind energy in their counties,” said John Boorman, Vice President of the Iowa Wind Energy Association. “Whether the money helps to build roads or bridges, enhance local schools or pay off bonds used to improve infrastructure, the added revenue from wind energy has been instrumental to the health of their communities.”
The report was unveiled during a panel discussion titled “The Business Case for Wind Energy” at The Partnership. Panelists included moderator Director Debi Durham of the Iowa Economic Development Authority; Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, Kathryn Kunert, Vice President of Economic Connections and Integration at MidAmerican Energy; Michael Goggin, Senior Research Director of the American Wind Energy Association; and John Boorman, Vice President of the Iowa Wind Energy Association.