(KMAland) -- A new report conducted by Navigant Consulting says wind energy could create over 17,000 Iowa jobs and generate $9 billion in economic activity by 2020.
“Perhaps the most important impact wind has had on our state are the high-quality, good-paying jobs that are helping grow family incomes in Iowa,” Branstad said. “But wind has also helped us reduce our dependence on foreign oil—something that Iowa was almost exclusively reliant upon in the 1980’s when I was first governor.”
According to new analysis from Navigant, released Monday by the American Wind Energy Association, wind-related jobs can reach 11,500 direct and indirect jobs by 2020. When considering induced jobs this rises to 17,300 wind-related jobs. Iowa is projected to contain the third most wind-related jobs, trailing only Texas and Colorado.
“Iowa’s become a national leader in wind energy thanks to Gov. Branstad’s own leadership,” Iowa Wind Energy Association Vice President John Boorman said. “Iowans can continue to benefit from growing low-cost, reliable wind energy here in the Hawkeye State as Lt. Governor Reynolds follows in his footsteps.”
Reynolds added, “As Chair of the Iowa Energy Plan, I’ve seen and heard first-hand from existing and prospective companies how important it is to have clean, renewable and reliable sources of energy like wind. This report shows that by attracting businesses with sound policy, our economy has benefited from wind energy by creating jobs and attracting billions in private investment.”
The Navigant report says over the wind industry will contribute $9 billion in economic activity is in Iowa from 2017-2020. This includes investments in new wind projects, operational expenditures, land lease payments, and sales, income, and property tax payments. Only Texas will experience more economic activity from the U.S. wind industry.
Over the next four years, more than $370 million in income, sales, and property tax payments are expected to be made by Iowa wind projects.
According to the U.S Department of Energy, at over 36 percent, Iowa already leads the country in the percentage of electricity the state obtains from wind energy, and that can grow to 40 percent by 2020.
“Gov. Terry Branstad knows wind works for Iowa and it’s largely thanks to him that over 17,000 wind-related jobs in Iowa are possible in just a few years,” Tom Kiernan, CEO of American Wind Energy Association said. “Wind does not provide just well-paying jobs either, many Iowans also know wind farms are the new ‘drought-resistant cash crop’ in Iowa, paying up to $20 million a year to Iowa farmers. Wind is already responsible for more than 36 percent of Iowa’s electricity generation, and with recent project announcements, the state will push past 40 percent in the coming years. We’re going to work with elected officials in Iowa to make sure that happens.”
By growing wind, Iowa has already seen tremendous economic benefits including, $11.8 billion in private investment to the state’s economy, over 9,000 well-paying direct and indirect jobs, including manufacturing jobs at 11 wind-related manufacturing facilities in Iowa, and wind farm owners pay $20 million a year to Iowa farmers and other rural landowners.
Wind energy supplies 5.5 percent of U.S electricity today and is on track to supply 10 percent of U.S electricity by 2020. Nationally, Navigant Consulting projects with additional wind growth, will add 248,000 wind-related jobs by 2020.