Slate: Iowa is ‘most impressive state for clean energy’

Source: By Linh Ta, Des Moines Register • Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The most impressive place for clean energy isn’t some coastal state, like California or New York.

It’s right here in Iowa, home to some of the nation’s mightiest wind energy, writes Daniel Gross, a longtime Slate contributor and editor for The Daily Beast and Newsweek.

“Blessed with lots of open space, consistent and strong winds, and farm owners eager to garner extra income from planting wind turbines alongside corn, Iowa has been one of the epicenters of America’s long-running wind boom,” Gross writes for Slate.

A timelapse of the construction of the U.S.’s tallest wind turbine:

MidAmerican Energy constructed in Adams County the tallest land-based wind turbine in the nation. The added height was created by building the tower from concrete instead of steel, and makes it 100 feet taller and better able to harness wind energy. MidAmerican/Special to the Register

While Iowa still depends heavily on coal for its source of electricity, Gross writes that wind power has industrialized more than any other renewable energy. Turbines are getting larger, while transmission wires that allow wind energy — as an industry — to succeed are expanding, Gross said.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that Iowa consistently has been a leader in wind energy:

The view from atop a MidAmerican Energy wind turbine

Macksburg wind project turbine farm

Just this week, the Iowa Utilities Board approved a wind turbine operation that experts say will be the country’s largest wind energy project.

Des Moines-based MidAmerican Energy is planning a $3.6 billion wind turbine operation that will generate up to 2,000 megawatts of electricity through 1,000 turbines. MidAmerican says that is enough energy to power 800,000 average households.

Alliant Energy also is investing in wind energy in the state, with plans to spend $1 billion over five years for the renewable source.

In July, Alliant Energy announced it was going to add 500 megawatts to Whispering Willow, a wind farm in Franklin County.