Iowa moves up to second in installed wind capacity

Iowa moved into second place in 2008 in terms of wind power generating capacity, according to this press release from the American Wind Energy Association. (Hat tip to the person who put this link on the Iowa Renewable Energy Association’s e-mail loop.)

Last year Iowa dropped to fourth in wind energy capacity, behind Texas, California and Minnesota. Now Iowa trails only Texas.

2008 was a banner year for the wind energy industry as a whole. More facts and figures can be found in the American Wind Energy Association release, which I’ve posted after the jump.

The renewable energy tax credit has helped promote installations of wind turbines around the country. It was scheduled to expire on January 1, 2010. However, a three-year extension to that tax credit was added to the economic stimulus package the House of Representatives is voting on today.

Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) has introduced a bill to extend the renewable energy tax credit for seven years. That bill is currently under consideration by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Extending this tax credit is a no-brainer. It helps the environment by increasing the production of clean, renewable energy, and it creates jobs by increasing demand for products like wind turbines and solar panels.

In addition to offering tax credits, the federal government could help expand wind power capacity by investing in more transmission lines and adopting an ambitious renewable electricity standard (for instance, requiring that 20 percent of our electricity come from clean, renewable sources by 2020).


January 27, 2008, 4PM Contact:

Julie Clendenin (202) 384-3090

Shawna Seldon (212) 255-7541


Smart policies, stimulus bill needed to maintain momentum in 2009

The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all previous records in 2008 by installing 8,358 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity (enough to serve over 2 million homes), the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said today, even as it warned of an uncertain outlook for 2009 due to the continuing financial crisis.

The massive growth in 2008 swelled the nation’s total wind power generating capacity by 50% and channeled an investment of some $17 billion into the economy, positioning wind power as one of the leading sources of new power generation in the country today along with natural gas, AWEA added.  At year’s end, however, financing for new projects and orders for turbine components slowed to a trickle and layoffs began to hit the wind turbine manufacturing sector.    

“Our numbers are both exciting and sobering,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode.  “The U.S. wind energy industry’s performance in 2008 confirms that wind is an economic and job creation dynamo, ready to deliver on the President’s call to double renewable energy production in three years.  At the same time, it is clear that the economic and financial downturn have begun to take a serious toll on new wind development.  We are already seeing layoffs in the area where wind’s promise is greatest for our economy: the wind power manufacturing sector.  Quick action in the stimulus bill is vital to restore the industry’s momentum and create jobs as we help make our country more secure and leave a more stable climate for our children.”  

The new wind projects completed in 2008 account for about 42% of the entire new power-producing capacity added nationally last year, according to initial estimates, and will avoid nearly 44 million tons of carbon emissions, the equivalent of taking over 7 million cars off of the road.    

The amount that the industry brought online in the 4th quarter alone – 4,112 MW – exceeds annual additions for every year except 2007.  In all, wind energy generating capacity in the U.S. now stands at 25,170 MW, producing enough electricity to power the equivalent of close to 7 million households and strengthening our national energy supply with a clean, inexhaustible, homegrown source of energy.  

Iowa, with 2,790 MW installed, surpassed California (2,517 MW) in wind power generating capacity. The top five states in terms of capacity installed are now:

   -Texas, with 7,116 MW

   -Iowa, with 2,790 MW

   -California, with 2,517 MW

   -Minnesota, with 1,752 MW

   -Washington, with 1,375 MW

Oregon moved into the club of states with more than 1,000 MW installed, which now counts seven states:  Texas, Iowa, California, Minnesota, Washington, Colorado, and Oregon.

About 85,000 people are employed in the wind industry today, up from 50,000 a year ago, and hold jobs in areas as varied as turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, wind turbine operations and maintenance, legal and marketing services, and more.   About 8,000 of these jobs are construction jobs, and a significant number of those will be lost in 2009 if financing for the pipeline of new projects is not quickly restored.  

Wind power’s recent growth has also accelerated job creation in manufacturing, where the share of domestically manufactured wind turbine components has grown from under 30% in 2005 to about 50% in 2008.   Wind turbine and turbine component manufacturers announced, added or expanded 70 new facilities in the past two years, including over 55 in 2008 alone. Those new manufacturing facilities created 13,000 new direct jobs in 2008.  However, because of the recent slowdown in orders, wind turbine and turbine component manufacturers in different parts of the country are beginning to announce layoffs.      

“The hope is that provisions such as those included in the House stimulus bill to restore the effectiveness of the tax incentives for renewable energy will quickly become law and provide the capital needed to continue to build projects,” said Bode.  “Because wind projects can be built quickly, positive legislation from Congress will have immediate and visible effects.  Looking forward, it will also be important for the new Administration and Congress to put in place long-term, supportive renewable energy policies to make the new clean energy economy a reality.”  

State-by state installation information is available at  For more on the policies that are needed see  

# # #

About the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA):

AWEA is the national trade association of America’s wind industry, with more than 1,800 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world’s largest wind power trade show. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America.  More information on wind energy is available at the AWEA Web site:

  • Wind Capacity vs. Production

    Ok, I see that Iowa has a huge installed wind capacity.


    I spent the entire morning and half the afternoon today dealing with the issue of “stranded wind”.  That is, despite Iowa’s tremendous supply of installed turbines, we have doggoned little in the way of power grid to take this stuff to market as electricity right now.  

    The hope is that since there are a lot of basically inoperative turbines in place at this moment, and since folks spent a WHOLE lot of money putting them in, these turbines can be put to use, right here, right now, generating oodles of hydrogen for a different kind of market.


    Steve Gruhn is working hard at creating anhydrous ammonia as a viable marketable solution from stranded wind here in Iowa.  I know, I know, ammonia fertilizer isn’t exactly on the menu of “what’s for dinner” in certain granola crunching organic knee-jerk liberal circles, but check this out as well:

    This illustrates a fairly decent use for annhydrous.  Any IC (Infernal Combustion, er, excuse me, INTERNAL Combustion) engine can, in theory be converted to use annhydrous as a zero emissions fuel. And annhydrous generated from wind energy can be stored for quite a while, and shipped, or piped (in existing annhydrous ammonia pipelines) to energy starved markets and drive traditional sorts of electrical generating turbines closer to markets where the electrical grid infrastructure and need exist. This makes sense to me, since wind is of such variable output, and energy lost in I/R drop of power lines is fairly significant if tranported over vast distances anyway.

    One thing to remember, annhydrous can be pretty nasty stuff if a lot of it comes into sudden contact with little things like, the atmosphere, groundwater, birds, trees, dogs, cats, people… Things like that.

    However, this could take us just one step closer to a hydrogen economy with an existing market, opportunities for creating a new potential market if used in trucks, tractors, cars, and with electrical generation for fuel.

    And like I said, I spent about the entire day trying to work with an engineer friend on creating viable inexpensive hydrogen storage for use in making annhydrous from wind.

    So I have a little invested in going this route.

    And unfortunately I wasn’t able to do some structural stress calculations today for differing types of steels we’ll be using to create support rods to be used under SERIOUS pressure since somebody swiped my “Machinery’s Handbook”  out of my toolbox a few years back. You know, the twenty some hundred page jewel with all the cool and groovy engineering formulas I need to do just these sorts of calculations?  Anybody got a spare copy lying around?? Just by chance? Anyone?  

    • Not there yet

      Transmission may become a problem for wind in Iowa somewhere down the line, but we are not there yet.  Utilities and other wind farm developers aren’t that stupid.  We do have a lot of wind capacity and the highest percentage of our total generation from wind.  

      The ammonia things is definitely very interesting, but let’s try to stick to facts on a D blog.  We are not R’s after all…. 🙂

      • My apologies if needed...

        Perhaps the IBEW line workers I spoke to currently installing the turbines along I-80 were mistaken. I was told that those turbines are going to be working subcapacity for the next five years or so, and were only being installed now due to the sunset of the incentive program. Sort of the old Iowa mindset, if we build it, they will come.  

        Oh, and one other thing.  Not a liberal, not a D.  Waaaaaaay left of that.  

      • where is Stranded Wind when we need him?

        Maybe Bleeding Heartland user Stranded Wind will see this post and comment in this thread.

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