The U.S. Department of Energy, in cooperation with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, announced this week that it has awarded a three-year grant totaling $487,500 to develop a Midwest & Prairie Regional Wind Resource Center.


The resource center will facilitate regional collaboration and sharing of best practices in wind energy development for a 10-state region that includes Iowa. It will disseminate information about the economic benefits of wind energy to the region, expand and preserve access to quality regional wind resources and communicate with stakeholder groups to ensure accurate and reliable information about wind energy development, according to a release from the Iowa Wind Energy Association.


Mike Prior, the association's interim executive director, said a location for the center and a number of other details probably won't be determined until May.


The award was made from a proposal submitted by the Iowa Wind Energy Association, Windustry and Wind Utility Consulting, with sponsorship from the Iowa Energy Center.  Matching contributions, both cash and in-kind, will be provided by the participating organizations, and the program is expected to become self-sustaining after the initial three-year period.


Other states that are part of the regional project are Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.


The regional center will be one of six centers located around the country.