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Iowa Wind Energy Association Report finds Clean Power Plan will Boost Iowa Job Market


Closeup of a wind turbine - imageAn increase in regional and national demand for wind energy will translate to expanded economic development and job creation for Iowa, according to a report released by the Iowa Wind Energy Association (IWEA) today.

Per The Economic Impact of Iowa's Wind Potential to Meet Carbon Reduction Goals, depending on the amount of wind installed in Iowa over the next 15 years, the state could create an average of 483 to 6,424 wind-related jobs each year, and as many as 10,992 jobs during the peak year of wind turbine installment.

The report, authored by Dave Swenson, an associate scientist in the Department of Economics at Iowa State University, lays out an economic impact analysis of four scenarios for using wind energy to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, released last week. By establishing state-specific carbon pollution reduction goals based on each state's energy portfolio, the Clean Power Plan will cut 32% of carbon pollution from U.S. power plants by 2030 (from 2005 levels).

"By encouraging investments in renewable energy, the Clean Power Plan will reap significant returns for Iowa," said Mike Prior, Executive Director of the Iowa Wind Energy Association. "This report shows that scaling up Iowa's wind energy capacity to achieve carbon pollution reductions will not only grow the state's workforce, but also boost Iowa's economy. Increased spending from wind energy businesses will add local jobs, spur additional spending in Iowa's communities, and provide ongoing, economic activity from wind turbine operations, maintenance and land-lease payments to rural landowners."

The final Clean Power Plan calls for Iowa to reduce its carbon pollution rate to 1,283 lbs/MWh by 2030, a slight increase from the originally proposed 1,301 lbs/MWh. At the end of 2014, wind energy accounted for 28.5 % of Iowa's electrical generation - the highest of any state. As a national wind energy leader, Iowa is already on-track to achieve and surpass this goal, and is well-positioned to benefit from helping other states meet their reduction goals by selling excess wind energy, infrastructure and services.

"Siemens is proud to manufacture its wind blades in Iowa," said Tony McDowell, Plant Manager, Siemens Fort Madison, Iowa. "As more states move to meet clean energy targets, wind will become an increasingly important part of the energy mix and that is an important development for our manufacturing site and for the Iowa economy."

Recent studies show that Iowa's wind energy potential is more than 570,000 MW, and 20,000 MW of this could be developed by 2030. Scenarios in the report evaluate wind installation levels starting at 2,320 MW and ending at 15,000 MW - all well within Iowa's wind capacity. Labor income totals at these levels range between $21 million and $114 million in the first year, with the potential to grow to $30 million to $594 million by 2030. Value added to the economy could grow up to $2.1 billion by 2030, bringing the final total output to as much as $3.56 billion in the final year.

"As a small business owner working with rural Iowa communities, I see first-hand the direct economic benefits that wind power brings to these communities; from landowner payments, job creation and an expanded tax base," said John Boorman, Managing Director of Optimum Renewables. "These are real tangible benefits across the state of Iowa.  In addition, small Iowa businesses like us have the opportunity to expand and grow. You cannot overstate the importance of the Clean Power Plan to our success.  I am looking forward to the implementation of the Clean Power Plan."

The majority of jobs created are in Iowa's wind energy manufacturing sector to build or supply wind turbines and components. Jobs created in other wind-related sectors include employment in wind farm construction, wind farm operations and land leasing.

"Iowa's visionary leadership in renewable energy makes it an attractive market for wind energy businesses," said Chris Kunkle, Regional Policy Manager at Wind on the Wires, an organization representing national and international wind developers, turbine manufacturers, businesses that provide goods and services to the wind industry, including those with business interests in Iowa. "The Clean Power Plan provides a key opportunity for the state to build upon its existing leadership and increase investment in Iowa's clean energy business sector."

The results of the report contain temporary annual impacts including manufacturing and installation-related impacts, and permanent impacts including operating completed facilities and leasing their sites.

The full report is available for download on the IWEA website at www.iowawindenergy.org.