To the editor:
I have been recently reading about people who are saying some very negative things about the wind industry. As an Iowan who supports the wind industry and associated infrastructure projects, I thought it was time to clear up some of the facts.
Much like corn, soybeans, and other commodity farm products, Iowa has the capacity to produce more power from wind than it can consume itself. In fact, Iowa's untapped capacity for wind power generation stands at 40 times what Iowa can use. The best way to monetize this incredible natural resource is to export it, in much the same way we export our commodity crops. And the only way to export that energy is to build transmission lines that can carry the power to where it is needed most.
Some people are apprehensive about easements on their profitable farmland; however, these fears are unfounded. Currently, Iowa landowners with wind turbines on their farmland earn $14.46 million in annual lease payments. This number will only increase with the recently added wind farm and transmission projects.
The wind industry creates high-quality jobs across the state of Iowa. Between manufacturing wind component parts, servicing turbines and transmission lines once they are on line, constructing poles for transmission lines, and all the indirect retail and hospitality jobs that spring up as a result of new investment in infrastructure, Iowa will create thousands of jobs related to the wind industry. Already, Iowa leads the nation in wind component manufacturing jobs.
In 2013, Iowa produced 27.4 percent of all of its electricity from wind energy, the highest percentage in America. We need to support new projects, including transmission lines, new wind farms, and new production plants, in order to maintain our exciting first-in-the-nation position in the wind industry.