A new analysis from the American Wind Energy Association has increased Iowa’s potential for generating wind energy. Michael Brower is the chief technical officer for the association. Brower says Iowa now has wind generation of about 3,670 megawatts. A megawatt is 1,000 kilowatts, and he says a kilowatt is about the average use of a household. He says Iowa’s estimated potential for generation is 370,000 megawatts, or about 150 times what it being generated right now.
Bower says that would rank Iowa seventh in generation potential, based on several methods used to compute the generation potential. He says the most important part of their calculations is a sophisticated weather model that takes into account things such as the speed of the wind at various heights above the ground.
The estimate is also about four times more than was previously estimated for the state — and Bower says new technology allowed them to refine their models. Bower says more important has been the improvements in wind technology, as wind turbines are much taller and able to tap stronger winds and are generally more productive than older turbines. Bower says the estimate provides a measuring stick of the potential of this renewable resource.
Bower says the main benefit of the information is that it helps those who are advocating for wind or developing policies for wind to let them understand the priority wind can have. Texas ranks as the state with the most wind potential, followed by Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, South and North Dakota and then Iowa. Wyoming, Oklahoma and New Mexico round out the top ten.
The new wind resource potential numbers are available at :www.windpoweringamerica.gov.