August 16, 2016
Governor Terry Branstad, alongside Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, declared August 16 as “Renewable Day” in Iowa at a press conference today. The press conference was part of “Renewable Day at the Iowa State Fair,” a collaborative effort of renewable fuel, renewable energy and education leaders to showcase the economic impact of wind, solar, ethanol and biodiesel in the state.
“I’m proud of Iowa’s leadership in producing low-cost, reliable renewable energy,” said Gov. Branstad. “Renewable energy employs thousands of Iowans, gives consumers choice and provides relatively low cost energy. We want to continue building on our successes of the past and build an even greater renewable future for our state.”
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds stated, “Iowans feed and fuel the world. We’re number one in terms of pork, poultry, corn and soybean production and also remain a leader in producing renewable energy. Iowa is in an envious situation because of our renewable energy. We are leveraging our position to continue attracting and expanding business and industry for the future.”
As a world leader in production, development and technology of renewable energy and fuel, these industries create thousands of jobs in Iowa and grow the state’s economy. With more than 6,400 employees in the wind industry alone, an additional $17 million is paid annually to farmers and landowners for land lease agreements.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, Iowa ranks 1st nationwide in wind project announcements during the first half of 2016, for projects either starting construction or in advanced stages of development
"Wind supplies a third of Iowa's energy while maintaining consumer costs below the national average," said Dain Jorgenson, President of the Iowa Wind Energy Association. "Wind energy creates jobs, boosts the state's supply chain and manufacturing industries, benefits Iowa farmers who lease their land and helps build bridges and repair roads through local tax bases. Put simply, wind works."
Solar energy technology has rapidly increased and driven down consumer costs. Solar energy prices have fallen 48% since 2010, and $16 million was spent on solar installations in Iowa last year alone.
"Renewable energy has been a true economic driver the past 30 years here in Iowa,” said Tim Dwight, President of the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association. “From our wind, water, bio and now solar, Iowa is poised to be the first state in the US to be 100% renewable in the coming decades. The investments in renewable technologies have led to strong job growth, increased energy security and is cleaning the air in our communities. A win-win-win for all Iowans."
According to a recent study by ABF Economics, the renewable fuels industry in Iowa accounted for more than $4.6 billion, or about 3.5 percent, of the Iowa GDP in 2015, and generates $2.3 billion of income for Iowa households.
“Iowa is number one in corn production and number one in ethanol production. But to lead rural America back to prosperity, Iowa needs to be number one in E15, E30 and higher ethanol blend access, said Monte Shaw, Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. “We’ve got a good start, but a long ways to go. There is still much work to be done.
Renewable industries, including biodiesel, are produced using Iowa commodities like soybean and corn oil. The Iowa biodiesel industry generates nearly $200 million in income for Iowa households.
“We thank Governor Branstad for proclaiming August 16 Renewable Day in Iowa and for his tireless efforts to champion biodiesel,” said Derek Winkel, Executive Director, Manufacturing Operations for Ames-based Renewable Energy Group. “His advocacy, along with the efforts of countless elected officials, has helped Iowa become America’s leader in renewable fuel production. REG is honored to be a part of Renewable Day at the Iowa State Fair where we will showcase all of Iowa's agricultural achievements from farm to fuel.”
As renewable industries grow, Iowa’s community colleges and universities have developed workforce training and education opportunities to cultivate homegrown talent to fill the jobs being created.
“Renewable Day at the Iowa State Fair highlights growing industries that are good for our environment as well as Iowa’s economy,” said Rob Denson, President and CEO of Des Moines Area Community College. “It’s creating new, well-paying job opportunities. DMACC is dedicated to helping Iowa’s renewable energy industry grow by providing highly-trained, skilled workers. One example is DMACC’s Wind Turbine Technician Program that trains many of those professionals who are assembling and maintaining the huge wind turbines we see in fields across the state. It’s part of DMACC’s goal of powering Iowa businesses by providing graduates who have practical, work-ready skills.”