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What They're Saying: Iowa Leading the Way on Wind
Iowa Ag Connection - 02/11/2020

During the height of the Iowa caucuses, presidential candidates, business leaders, and Iowans on both sides of the aisle came together to drive a clear display of bipartisan support for wind energy. Wind is the fastest growing form of renewable energy in many states across the country and Iowa has created a leading model of success that the rest of the country is learning from. Wind is powering economic growth and job opportunities in the state. This has never been more important given our energy demands and the increasing need to build a clean energy economy.

Here's a recap of what business and energy leaders are saying about wind in Iowa - and how the state's leadership is receiving attention from the national level:

A week before the caucuses, a climate change panel took place at Drake University with several Iowa business leaders and renewable energy experts participating. The panel, "Climate Policy: Leading the Way with Renewable Energy," was featured on POLITICO as a live national broadcast and moderated by WHO-TV Political Director Dave Price. The panelists cited the benefits of wind energy as a sustainable power source for Iowans and a source of the jobs required for the future in the face of climate change.

Brian Selinger, Team Leader of the Iowa Energy Office for the Iowa Economic Development Authority:

Iowa's wind energy industry offers a win-win: environmental benefits and a boost to our local economies. Across the state, the wind power sector supports nearly 10,000 jobs and offers our farmers an additional revenue stream.

Kerri Johannsen, Energy Program Director for the Iowa Environmental Council:

Shifting our energy production to a sustainable model with sources like wind energy is crucial to protecting Iowa's land, air, and water for future generations. Wind energy is clean, renewable, and cost-effective - a clear win for Iowa's economy and our environment.

Watch the panel's conversation here.

In an op-ed that appeared in the Des Moines Register, Jay Byers, CEO of the Greater Des Moines Partnership, cited Iowa's long-term commitment to wind energy that has resulted in recent milestones that are leading the nation:

Iowa's success story with wind represents a textbook example of combining our available resources and workforce to spark economic growth, job creation, tax revenue, and business investment -- and doing so in an environmentally sustainable way....our state's leadership is creating a model for the rest of the country to follow.

Leading up to Monday's caucuses, it was made clear that climate change had been solidified as a top priority for Iowans. With renewable energy in the spotlight, Iowa's leadership in wind met national recognition as the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) hosted a panel on the eve of the caucuses. Hosted at the Iowa Caucus Consortium, "Clean Energy Future & Its Economic Impact" featured AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan and several top voices who are moving the industry forward.

Tom Kiernan, CEO, American Wind Energy Association:

Wind energy has risen to meet the challenges of today, and Iowa is a perfect example of just how much is possible through wind power with bipartisan support. As the rest of the country looks to Iowa at the beginning of the presidential election process, we're proud to say they can also look to Iowa as a model for building the clean energy economy of our future.

Justin Foss, Senior Communication Partner for Alliant Energy:

Alliant Energy is focused on developing clean energy, including wind. In addition to providing a cleaner environment for all, it will also provide a boost to local economies and drive a more sustainable energy future. We are proud to deliver affordable power to our customers and, simultaneously, make a responsible impact on our environment.

Mike Fehr, Vice President of Resource Development for MidAmerican Energy Company:

Wind energy makes sense for our customers. It is not only powering Iowa's homes and businesses, it is also energizing the state's economy while ensuring a clean energy future for decades to come.

Watch the rest of the conversation from the Iowa Caucus Consortium here.

Iowa has become a national leader in wind, one of the fastest growing and cheapest forms of new electricity generation, and ranks near the top in installed wind capacity, jobs supported, lease payments to farmers, and share of total electricity generation. A background memo on the full economic impact of wind is attached.

AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry. We represent 1,000 member companies and over 114,000 jobs in the U.S. economy, serving as a powerful voice for how wind works for America. Members include global leaders in wind power and energy development, turbine manufacturing, and component and service suppliers. They gather each year at the Western Hemisphere's largest wind energy event, the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, next in Denver, June 1-4. WINDPOWER 2020 will be housed within CLEANPOWER, the new exhibition hub for utility-scale renewable energy, bringing together wind power, solar power, and energy storage industries. Find information about wind energy on the AWEA website.

Power Up Iowa is a statewide coalition of renewable energy supporters advocating for local, state and federal policies that bring wind energy investment into Iowa. By educating, raising awareness, and participating in conversations with our state's leaders, Power Up Iowa will make the case for continued wind power growth, which will create jobs and new economic opportunities for families and businesses across the state. Power Up Iowa is an initiative of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

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