Joe gardyasz is the Business Record’s Energy & Utilities beat reporter. Have an idea or tip?  (515) 661-6084 | | Twitter: @JoeGardyasz
Joe gardyasz is the Business Record’s Energy & Utilities beat reporter. Have an idea or tip? (515) 661-6084 | | Twitter: @JoeGardyasz


Iowa has the second largest wind-generation capacity of any state in the nation

1. Texas, 10,394 megawatts

2. Iowa, 4,322 megawatts

3. California, 3,917 megawatts

4. Illinois, 2,742 megawatts

5. Minnesota, 2,718 megawatts

• Only Iowa and South Dakota have enough wind power to provide for 20 percent of their state’s energy needs, a goal that the U.S. Department of Energy set for 2030.


Why bigger is better

The size of wind turbines is growing because bigger turbines produce more power, more efficiently.

By the numbers:

MidAmerican Energy Co. owns more wind-power capacity than any other company in the United States. It makes up 30 percent of the company’s electricity generation portfolio.

• 6 wind projects: completed in 2011-2012

• 1,001 megawatts: Production capacity added with those projects

• 2,285 megawatts: Total owned wind generation capacity in Iowa

• 4,322 megawatts: Iowa total wind generation capacity

• 1st place: U.S. ranking in ownership of wind-powered capacity

Iowa wind manufacturers

• Towers: Trinity Structural Towers, Inc., Newton

• Turbines: Clipper Windpower, Cedar Rapids; ACCIONA, West Branch

• Blades: TPI Composites, Newton; Siemens Energy Inc., Fort Madison

• Nacelle components: Sector 5 Technologies, Oelwein

• Other: Goian North America LLC, Ankeny, provides lifts for people and equipment inside the towers

• 67% of wind turbines used in the U.S. are manufactured here (double what it was in 2005), even while the industry’s exports grew rapidly, from about $20 million in 2008 to $150 million in 2011.


Extending wind energy tax credits averted industry slowdown

On Jan. 2, Congress extended two wind energy tax credits that the American Wind Energy Association said would have prevented layoffs of an estimated 37,000 of the 75,000 American wind-energy industry workers. A production tax credit pays eligible projects 2.2 cents per kilowatt hour for the first 10 years of production, making the energy competitive with electricity generated by natural gas.

Costs and price going down

Wind turbine prices and project installation costs have gone down. That, along with improved capacity factors, are lowering the price of wind power, making it competitive with natural gas. 1 megawatt-hour = 1 hour of power for 1,000 homes

Sources: MidAmerican Energy Co., National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy: 2011 Wind Market Report, American Wind Energy Association.