Study: Wind could save Iowa consumers $12 billion over 25 years

Source: By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Iowa consumers could save $12.6 billion over 25 years by doubling the amount of wind generation in the state, advocates say in a new report.

Pushing the amount of wind generation in Iowa to 20,000 megawatts would save the average Iowa household $3,200 on its electric bills over 25 years, according to an American Wind Energy Association report. Industrial customers would save $825,000 over two decades.

The report was released Monday following a panel discussion about wind benefits at the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

Last year, wind power provided more than 31 percent of the state’s electricity.

The report said Iowa received more than $500 million in gross benefits last year from existing wind generation. Wind generation benefits are expected to grow over time as “the cost of fossil fuels is only expected to increase,” the report states.

“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. “Building our state’s capacity to deliver renewable energy to companies and consumers will continue to set Iowa apart from the competition.”

Kathryn Kunert, a MidAmerican Energy vice president, said 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.”

Industries tied to wind generation employ more than 6,000 people in Iowa, the report said, and landowners receive more than $17 million annually in lease payments.