Friday, January 27, 2006

Iowa remains among top wind-energy producing state's in 2005

Sioux City Journal: Iowa remains among top wind-energy producing state's in 2005: "Iowa remains among top wind-energy producing state's in 2005
01/27/2006 012:01:43 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The addition of new wind turbines helped keep Iowa among the leading wind-energy producing state's in the country in 2005.

Iowa installed 201.65 megawatts of new wind energy last year, statistics from the American Wind Energy Association showed. Nationwide, more than 2,400 megawatts were installed.

One megawatt of wind power can provide enough power for up to 300 homes.

Randall Swisher, executive director of the wind association, said utilities are turning to wind energy because, in part, it's less expensive than burning oil or corn.

"The thing that is different today than five years ago, not only is gas no longer the automatic default but also wind is playing a larger role in the thinking of electric utilities," Swisher said.

MidAmerican Energy accounted for most of Iowa's new wind capacity in 2005, completing a $386 million, 257-turbine project in two northern Iowa sites. The projects have no impact on customers' electricity rates.

Iowa law requires that utilities get 2 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. Gov. Tom Vilsack has set a goal for Iowa utilities to produce 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2010.

Most of MidAmerican's electricity is generated by burning coal. The Des Moines-based company has 360.5 megawatts of capacity at its northern Iowa sites, increasing its total generation from renewable sources to 9 percent.

MidAmerican has 122 turbines in northwest Iowa and 135 turbines in north-central Iowa.

Only California and Texas have more wind energy capacity than Iowa, the wind association said.

The growth in wind projects follows renewal of a federal tax policy in 2004 that supports the wind industry. The tax credit provides a 1.5 cent- per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for electricity generated from wind turbines.

On the Net: American Wind Energy Association:

MidAmerican Energy: