Iowa blows by another milestone in wind energy generation

The nation’s leader in wind energy and use has hit yet another milestone. Iowa is now getting more than 30 percent of its electricity from this renewable source — the only U.S. state that has reached this threshold. According to Gov. Terry Branstad, the state has the potential to reach 40 percent within the next five years.<--break->

In 1983, Iowa became the first U.S. state to adopt a renewable portfolio standard. But in more recent years, the state has employed incentives to promote the growth of renewable energy, most notably through the use of production tax credits. These credits are available to utilities and independent power producers. Iowa state law also allows local communities to become “small wind innovation zones.” This designation is based on local ordinances that simplify the process for installing small-scale wind turbines. Some Midwestern states are not far behind Iowa. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, this region has five of the 10 U.S. states with the highest share of electricity generation coming from wind: Iowa (first in the nation, 31.3 percent); South Dakota (second, 25.5 percent); Kansas (third, 23.9 percent); North Dakota (fourth, 17.7 percent); and Minnesota (sixth, 17.0 percent).

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