Iowa Reaches Milestone on Wind Energy Production

64-percent of Iowa’s energy production now comes from wind, a new record for the state, according to the U-S Energy Information Administration.

Green-energy advocates call it a big step along the road to fossil-fuel independence. Iowa has been a wind-energy leader for decades, but the Iowa Environmental Council’s Michael Schmidt says the I-E-C has a goal of becoming fossil-fuel independent by 2035…

The I-E-C contends that wind is the least expensive source of energy generation, even without considering tax credits or subsidies, and says it is dramatically lower than the costs of coal — especially when accounting for factors such as human health and crop damage from fossil fuel-based energy production. Large utility companies such as MidAmerican Energy have entered the renewable-energy marketplace but have not moved completely away from fossil-fuel backups.

Alternative-energy producers have faced stiff challenges in Iowa because the land has traditionally been so valuable for agriculture production. To even install wind turbines, the land has to have what is known as a low corn suitability ratio, which means the acreage will be more valuable to wind farmers than it is to corn farmers. Schmidt says public sentiment in the state is finally starting to change as people see the value of clean energy.

Schmidt says Iowa also will focus on solar-energy production as costs continue to decline, and the state will rely on a mix of alternative energy sources to achieve fossil-fuel independence.

(credit to Iowa News Service)

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