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Wind power in Iowa

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Title: Wind power in Iowa  
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Wind power in Iowa

Hancock County Wind Energy Center in Hancock County, Iowa, with 148 Vestas V47-660kW wind turbines for a total nameplate capacity of 97.68 MW. Half of the wind turbines are southwest of Klemme and the other half are south-southeast of Duncan. NextEra Energy Resources owns the wind farm, which began operating in 2002.

Iowa is a leading U.S. state in wind power generation with 27.4% of the state's electricity generation coming from wind in 2013.[1][2] At the end of 2013, wind power in Iowa had 5,137 megawatts (MW) of capacity, third only to Texas and California.[3] 15,752 Million kWh of electrical energy was generated by wind powered generators in 2013.[4]


  • Overview 1
  • Windpower industry 2
  • List of wind farms in Iowa 3
  • Wind generation 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


In addition to federal programs, the state of Iowa encourages development of renewable electricity sources through a 1 cent per kilowatt hour tax credit.[5] Also, generation equipment and facilities receive property tax breaks, and generation equipment is exempt from sales tax.[6][7]

As of 2014, only Texas and California have higher amounts of installed wind power capacity.[3]

The development of wind power in Iowa began with the enactment in 1983 of a state law that required investor-owned utilities in the state to buy a total of 105 MW of power from wind generated electricity, one of first renewable electricity portfolio standards. This provided assurance to those building wind power installations that there would be a market for the electricity they produced.[8]

Iowa has the highest density of wind power generation capacity.

In 2010 and in 2009, Iowa led the U.S. in the percentage of electrical power generated by wind, at 15.4 percent and 14.2 percent.[9] This was up from 7.7 percent in 2008, as there was a large increase in the installed capacity in 2008.[10] Some of the wind power generated electricity is sold to utility companies in nearby states, such as Wisconsin,[11] and Illinois.[12]

Wind farms are most prevalent in the north and west portion of Iowa. Wind maps show the winds in these areas to be stronger on average, making them better suited for the development of wind energy. Average wind speeds are not consistent from month to month. Wind maps show wind speeds are on average strongest from November through April, peaking in March. August is the month with the weakest average wind speeds.[13][14] On a daily cycle, there is a slight rise in average wind speeds in the afternoon, from 1 to 6 p.m.[15] Estimates by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) indicate Iowa has potentially 570,700 Megawatts of wind power using large turbines mounted on 80 meter towers.[16] Iowa ranks seventh in the country in terms of wind energy generation potential due to the strong average wind speeds in the midsection of the U.S.[8] The Iowa Environmental Mesonet distributes current weather and wind conditions from approximately 450 monitoring stations across iowa, providing data for modelling and predicting wind power.[17]

The average capacity factor of Iowa wind farms has been estimated as 33.3% by a wind industry consultant.[18] Production numbers for 2013, when wind capacity remained almost constant, were actually slightly better, showing a capacity factor over 34 percent.[19] Due to these better wind conditions, Iowa generated more electricity from wind power in 2013 than California, even though it had less wind power capacity installed.[20]

Several of the newer projects are the large 440 MW Rolling Hills project near Massena, the Elk Wind Farm near Greeley, and Pocahontas Prairie project northeast of Pomeroy. All were constructed in 2011, although the Pocahontas Prairie project wasn't online until early 2012.[21][22][23]

According to the Iowa Office of Energy Independence, lack of transmission line capacity is beginning to restrict further growth of wind farms in the state.[24] A report from the NREL acknowledges that this is a major hurdle to increased wind power development in the U.S.[25] A high voltage DC line that would transmit power from near Sioux City to the Chicago area has been proposed.[26]

MidAmerican Energy has started construction on five projects in Iowa totaling over 1,000 MW of capacity. The projects, expected to be completed by the end of 2015, are in O'Brien, Marshall, Webster, Grundy, and Madison counties. This will involve construction of 448 wind turbines manufactured by Siemens. At a cost of some 1.9 billion dollars, this will be Iowa's largest economic development project to date. The largest project, the Highland project in O'Brien county, will have 500 MW of capacity, making it Iowa's largest.[27][28][29]

A new transmission line is being built to transmit some of the power from the Highland project to the Spencer and Iowa Great Lakes area. Additionally, power will be transmitted by an existing 345 kilovolt line running from south of Sioux City to Lakefield, Minnesota.[30]

Windpower industry

A number of companies involved in the windpower industry have office or manufacturing facilities in Iowa. Blades for wind turbines are manufactured in Newton by TPI Composites and in Fort Madison by Siemens. Turbines are manufactured in West Branch by Acciona. Towers are also manufactured in Newton by Trinity Structural Towers. Companies manufacturing other parts for wind turbines are located in Iowa as well.[31]

In addition to manufacturing, various companies support the development of wind power projects.[31] The wind power industry employs 6,000 to 7,000 people in Iowa.[32] Nearly $10 billion has been invested in Iowa's wind power projects and manufacturing facilities.[32]

In late September 2007, Siemens Power Generation opened its new wind turbine blade factory in Fort Madison, on the banks of the Mississippi River. The factory can produce more than 2000 blades annually.[33] A plant expansion in 2008 brought the facility up to nearly 600,000 square feet, up from 310,000. The facility manufactures 148-foot (45 m)-long, 12-ton blades for the company's 2.3-MW wind turbines installed in the United States.[34]

The Iowa Office of Energy Independence (OEI) is tasked with determining policy and setting goals towards renewable energy production. The office seeks to coordinate efforts between industry, community leaders, state and local government, and educational institutions to achieve energy policy goals.[31]

List of wind farms in Iowa

Wind power in Iowa is located in Iowa
Story County
Story County
Buena Vista
Buena Vista
Top of Iowa
Top of Iowa
Des Moines
Des Moines
Cedar Rapids
Cedar Rapids
Sioux City
Sioux City
Wind power projects in Iowa
  Under construction

The following is a list of some of the wind projects in Iowa.

Name, Location
Top Of Iowa - near Joice, west of I-35
Intrepid - between Schaller and Storm Lake, north of U.S. 20
Story County I - north of Colo
Story County II - south of Humboldt, Story and Hardin counties [35]
Pomeroy - between Pomeroy and Fonda, along Iowa 7
Endeavor - near Lake-Park, Harris along Iowa 9
Century - north of Blairsburg, along U.S. 69, west of I-35
Buena Vista - Alta, Peterson, Truesdale area
Victory - near Arcadia and Westside, U.S. 30[36]
Carroll - northwest of Carroll, near Mt. Carmel & Breda
Hancock County - Klemme
Hardin Hilltop - north of Jefferson, 7 towers
Charles City - west of Charles City
Walnut - near Walnut (n.e. of Council Bluffs), mostly south of I-80
Whispering Willow Wind Farm - Franklin County, between Hampton and Iowa Falls
Adair - South of Adair, near I-80[37]
Barton -near Kensett, east of I-35[38]
Crystal Lake - between Buffalo Center and Crystal Lake, Hancock and Winnebago Counties
Pioneer Prairie - Howard & Mitchell Counties
Crosswind Energy - southeast of Ruthven, U.S. 18[39]
Lost Lakes - West of Milford - Dickinson County
Iowa Lakes Superior - near Superior, U.S. 71[40][41]
Iowa Lakes Lakota - near Lakota, Iowa 9[40]
Laurel - west of Laurel[42]
Elk - Greeley[42]
Hawkeye - near Hawkeye & Richfield[42]
Rippey - between Rippey & Grand Jct[42]
Vienna - south of Gladbrook[42]

The Spirit, Endeavor, Buena Vista, Lost Lakes, and Crosswind Energy wind farms are all located upon the Coteau des Prairies, a slightly elevated area that results in the windiest locations in Minnesota and Iowa. Coteau des Prairies is sometimes referred to as Buffalo Ridge, which is actually a specific ridge within the area, mostly in Minnesota.

Power from the Iowa Lakes Superior and Iowa Lakes Lakota projects is used by ethanol fuel plants in their respective communities.[40] This marks the first use of wind power being used to supply energy to produce another renewable energy source.[41]

Wind generation

Iowa Wind Generation (GWh, Million kWh)[4]
Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Total
2011 807 989 872 1,065 1,129 850 484 412 572 1,102 1,257 1,167 10,706
2012 1,490 1,141 1,368 1,296 1,316 1,063 643 711 887 1,366 1,415 1,336 14,032
2013 1,663 1,380 1,414 1,465 1,421 1,089 864 674 1,190 1,352 1,757 1,303 15,572
2014 1,849 1,324 1,729 1,757 1,261 1,027 915 543
Iowa Wind Generation in 2013

See also


  1. ^ "Electric Power Monthly data for December 2012" (PDF). Report. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration. 26 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "American wind power reaches major power generation milestones in 2013".  
  3. ^ a b "AWEA U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2013 Market Report - Executive Summary" (PDF). Report. AWEA. January 30, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Electricity Data Browser". U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration. Retrieved April 18, 2014. 
  5. ^ Iowa renewable tax credits
  6. ^ National wind - Iowa wind data
  7. ^ Database of State Incentives for Renwables and Efficiency
  8. ^ a b Wiser, Mike. "Wind energy helping power Iowa economy". Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Energy Information Administration - Electric Power Monthly March 2011
  10. ^ Energy efficiency. Rethinking the energy system here in the U.S.
  11. ^ Crane Creek Wind Farm
  12. ^ Iberdrola in deal to sell power from Iowa wind farm
  13. ^ Iowa wind maps
  14. ^ Iowa monthly wind maps
  15. ^ Geography and Wind - Iowa Energy Center
  16. ^ Iowa policy project
  17. ^ Meteorology -IAWIND
  18. ^ Iowa Utilities Board
  19. ^ [EIA electric power monthly, February 2013]
  20. ^ "EIA Electric Power Monthly, December 2013". PDF. U.S. Energy Information Administration, Department of Energy. February 21, 2010. Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  21. ^ Elk Wind Farm construction
  22. ^ Rolling Hills wind farm construction
  23. ^ Pomeroy (Gamesa) wind farm
  24. ^ Chernova, Yuliya (October 19, 2009). "The Answer Is Blowing in…Iowa". The Wall Street Journal. 
  25. ^ NREL Eastern Area Wind Energy Study
  26. ^ Transmission Line Proposed for Iowa
  27. ^ Iowa's Biggest Economic Project Ever,
  28. ^ Midamerican Energy announces construction of wind projects in Iowa - Iowa Energy Center
  29. ^ Buffet's $1 billion order shows wind power rivals coal energy, Business week
  30. ^ Mid-American's busy 2014 construction year, Cherokee Chronicle Times
  31. ^ a b c Iowa Office of Energy Independence
  32. ^ a b Iowa Wind Energy Association
  33. ^ Siemens produces 5,000th blade at Fort Madison facility
  34. ^ Siemens' Fort Madison facility facts
  35. ^ Google buys power from Iowa wind farm
  36. ^ Victory I – Iowa
  37. ^ dead link
  38. ^ Iberdrola Renewables Supplies 50 Megawatts to We Energies from Barton Wind Power Project
  39. ^ Iowa wind farms supported by USDA Renewable Energy Program
  40. ^ a b c Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative Lakota and Superior projects
  41. ^ a b Superior wind farm
  42. ^ a b c d e "RPMAccess Projects". RPMAccess. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 

External links

  • Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development
  • Wind energy data for Iowa at The Wind Power
  • Iowa Office of Energy Independence: Wind
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