Governor Chet Culver will be in Texas next week to accept an award on behalf of the Iowa Department of Economic Development. The American Wind Energy Association has selected the IDED to receive its 2008 State Leadership Award. The association’s executive director, Randall Swisher, says Iowa deserves recognition for attracting several major wind energy manufacturers to the state.

Mike Tramontina, director of the IDED, says: "We’ve really worked hard to not only recruit new companies to the state, but we’ve really worked especially hard at linking existing Iowa companies to those new manufacturers and to help those new manufacturers identify and build their supply chain among Iowa companies." There are six major companies in Iowa that are, or will be, manufacturing the towers, turbines and other parts needed to capture wind energy. Those businesses have helped make Iowa one of the top wind-energy producers in the nation.

"Iowa currently generates 5.5 percent of it’s total electricity usage from wind and that’s the highest (percentage) of any state," Tramontina said. The governor and state lawmakers have set a goal for Iowa to generate 25-percent of it’s electricity from renewable sources, including wind, by the year 2025. "Just from plans that have been announced, we will continue to grow at the same pace that we are growing now for the next couple years if the companies can get the turbines. The backlog for turbines, blades and towers is two, three or four years long…that’s the constraint and the amount electricity generated from wind right now," Tramontina said.

The six major wind energy businesses in Iowa, that are either in operation or under construction, are located in Cedar Rapids, Fort Madison, West Branch, Keokuk and Newton.

Governor Culver will be presented with the AWEA award at the WINDPOWER 2008 Conference and Exhibition in Houston, Texas. It’s the world’s largest annual wind energy industry event and features 770 exhibitors.