Governor Chet Culver says he’s frustrated with the lack of action on a national renewable electricity standard (RES) that could boost development of Iowa’s wind energy industry.
Culver says Iowa is leading the way when it comes to wind energy research and development, but federal legislation should require states and utilities to generate more electricity from renewables.
“We’ve invested $100 million in 30 different R and D projects across the state of Iowa. Many of them could have potential benefits related to all forms of renewable energy, but wind energy in particular,” Culver told reporters by telephone Monday.
Culver is chair of the National Governor’s Association wind energy committee. He’s in Dallas, Texas for an American Wind Energy Association conference.
Iowa has nine factories that produce the blades, towers and other materials for wind turbines. Some of those companies are based in Europe, where Culver and other state officials have traveled to learn about wind energy production.
“One of the things we’ve learned from our friends in Europe is that they typically have a really strong partner at the federal level of their government,” Culver said. “Sometimes it’s the federal policy that pushes the state policy.” Culver and other governors are pushing Congress to act on R-E-S and renew federal tax credits for building wind farms.
Culver says much of the wind capacity being developed in Iowa could be shipped to bigger U.S. cities. The effort, however, will require a multi-state transmission system. “We still believe in Iowa that we have a huge market potentially in the Chicago area, for example,” Culver said. “But we also know we need a national policy, so it makes perfect sense that we coordinate this as effectively as possible before we start to build it out.”
Iowa leads the nation in wind generation as a percent of total power. Around 20% of the state’s energy comes from wind.