Iowans are noticing more wind turbines around the state, but a lot of challenges lie ahead for the industry to keep growing. Currently, wind represents about seven-percent of all the energy generated in Iowa. State officials hope to increase that to 20% by 2030.
Iowa State University College of Engineering professor Balaji Narasimhan says investing in wind production could help the state weather the economic downturn. He says long-term investments in wind and other renewable energies would lessen the state’s dependence on petroleum-based energy sources.
Narasimhan says two keys to boosting the wind energy industry in the state involve developing ways to store wind energy and producing a better overall power grid. "We need a grid that will take the energy generated in northwest Iowa and move it to Chicago, Kansas City and Minneapolis in a more efficient way," Narasimhan said. Meanwhile, research is underway in Ankeny to develop a site where wind energy could be stored underground. That technology is already utilized at facilities located in Alabama and in Germany.
Narasimhan is organizing a Wind Energy Symposium at Iowa State University, scheduled for December 9.