A wind turbine manufacturing plant in Cedar Rapids has landed a nearly $2.3 million award from the state. The funding was approved today by the Iowa Power Fund Board during the board’s final meeting.

Kristin Hanks, with the Iowa Office of Energy Independence, says the award will help Clipper Windpower develop a wind turbine that is designed to be used at low wind speed sites. “Most of the wind turbines now are in northern and northwestern Iowa,” Hanks said. “With wind turbines designed for low class wind speed areas, we’d be able put more wind turbines in northeast and parts of southern Iowa.”

Clipper officials say the company is investing an additional $18 million toward the project. The move’s expected to create even more wind energy related jobs in Iowa. “They do expect, with this new prototype, that they will be adding jobs to their Cedar Rapids plant,” Hanks said. It’s not clear, however, how many more employees might be needed or when.

The turbines would be sold in North America and internationally. A prototype installation and testing of the low-speed wind turbine is expected sometime next year. Iowa leads the nation in terms of per capita wind energy production. There are more than 2,500 turbines currently installed around Iowa generating nearly 19% of the state’s electricity.

The Iowa Power Fund was established in 2007 under then Governor Chet Culver, a Democrat. This year, Republicans in the legislature chose to eliminate the $25 million-a-year program.