Over 17,000 Iowa wind-related jobs possible by 2020 says Navigant Consulting

March 27, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa, March 27, 2017 — Over 17,000 wind-related jobs and over $9 billion in additional economic activity are possible by 2020 according to recent Navigant Consulting analysis highlighted today by the Iowa Wind Energy Association (IWEA) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

The findings come as wind energy supporters take to the State Capitol today to meet with state legislators and Gov. Branstad and Lt Gov. Reynolds, calling on Iowa officials to continue policies growing wind energy in Iowa.

“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,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “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.”

“Iowa’s become a national leader in wind energy thanks to Gov. Branstad’s own leadership,” said John Boorman, Vice President of IWEA. “Iowans can continue to benefit from growing low-cost, reliable wind energy here in the Hawkeye State as Lt. Gov. Reynolds follows in his footsteps.”

Gov. Branstad has been tapped to become the next United States Ambassador to China. Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will take over as Governor once he is confirmed by the United States Senate.

By continuing to grow wind energy, incoming Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will help attract even more business to Iowa. Wind-related jobs can reach 11,500 jobs at wind companies and in the supply chain by 2020, according to Navigant. When considering jobs added in the communities surrounding wind farms and factories, this rises to 17,300 jobs. Compared to other states, Iowa is projected to contain the third most wind-related jobs in 2020, trailing only Texas and Colorado.

Over $9 billion in economic activity is expected to be contributed by the wind industry in Iowa from 2017-2020 according to Navigant. This includes investments in new wind projects, turbine operations and maintenance, land lease payments, and sales, income, and property tax payments. Only Texas will experience more economic activity from the U.S. wind industry

More than $370 million in income, sales, and property tax payments are expected to be made by wind projects located in Iowa over the next four years. These payments, which often are the largest funding source for local programs, help counties pay teachers, build classrooms, pave roads, and keep hospitals open.  

At over 36 percent, Iowa already leads the country in the percentage of electricity the state obtains from wind energy, and according to the U.S. Department of Energy that can grow to 40 percent by 2020.

By growing wind, the state has already seen tremendous economic benefits including, $11.8 billion in project investment, over 8,000 well-paying direct and indirect jobs, including manufacturing jobs at 11 wind-related factories and assembly plants in Iowa. Moreover, wind farm owners pay over $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 that additional wind growth, there can be 248,000 wind-related jobs by 2020.

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AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry. We represent 1,000 member companies and over 100,000 jobs in the U.S. economy, serving as a powerful voice for how wind works for America. Members include global leaders in wind power and energy development, turbine manufacturing, and component and service suppliers. They gather each year at the Western Hemisphere’s largest wind power trade show, the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, next in Chicago, Illinois, May 7-10, 2018. Find information about wind energy on the AWEA website. Gain insight into industry issues on AWEA's blog, Into the Wind. And please join us on Facebook, and follow @AWEA on Twitter.