Iowa’s Terry Branstad is among 17 governors who are signing an accord that promises to embrace new energy solutions to expand the economy and protect community health and natural resources.
Iowa Wind Energy Association President Dain Jorgenson says Branstad is committed to wind energy and soon, the state will be getting 40 percent of its energy needs supplied by wind.
“By the time MidAmerican’s project comes online in the next year, we’ll be around 38% of our power,” Jorgenson says. “MidAmerican themselves will be roughly 50% of their own power generation from clean fuels.” He expects the group of governors to help advance clean power initiatives like wind energy, which has seen great success in Iowa, especially as big companies seek to offset their carbon footprints.
“It’s a commitment for states to move in the direction of what the market’s dictating,” Jorgenson says. “Whether you’re a consumer or a corporate purchaser. For example, Microsoft, Facebook, Google have all built massive data centers here in Iowa. One of the reasons for that is their ability to access clean wind energy.” Jorgenson says he’s hoping other states will follow Iowa’s example in using a bipartisan approach in moving toward clean energy goals.
“We have both sides of the aisle working together to try to enhance clean power in Iowa,” he says. “We’re hoping that same position can be taken outside of our state and other states adopt the model, which is, it can work for both sides politically, it makes sense economically.”
Goals of the governors’ group include: building more sophisticated energy-efficient electrical grids, pooling the buying power to get cheaper clean energy vehicles for state fleets and lobbying the federal government for more research and development of energy storage, clean fuels and the electric grid.
(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)