People who haven’t been following the renewable energy industry will be forgiven for their reaction when they’re told that Iowa is among the most advanced, opportunistic state in the cleantech economy. “Iowa? Isn’t that corn country?”
Well, yes. But it’s also wind country. And like few other states, Iowans have turned their constant breeze into a powerful economic force.
Despite its size, Iowa produces the second most wind power in the U.S. (Texas is #1 and California is #3) and is one of only two states that receives over 20% of its electricity from wind power. More impressive has been the state’s ability to capture the economic — not just the environmental — benefit of that ranking. According to the American Wind Energy Association, Iowa has attracted more major wind industry manufacturers than any other state. It’s a great example of supply meeting demand.
Politically, wind power has been supported by both parties for three decades. It was the first state to pass a Renewable Portfolio Standard, under republican Governor Terry Branstad in 1983. In 2005, democratic Governor Tom Vilsack signed a tax credit for renewable energy production. And in 2007 democratic Governor Chet Culver created the Iowa Power Fund to invest in local renewable energy research and development projects. This level of across-the-aisle cooperation is unique among states and has given Iowa a considerable advantage in competing against larger and richer states. Read More