Made in Iowa: candidates to sign huge wind turbine blade at straw poll
Blade factory created jobs in town left by Maytag
AMES, IOWA (Aug. 11, 2011) — Candidates for President and Iowa voters will have the opportunity to literally touch the economic power of wind energy at this year's presidential straw poll. TPI Composites, Inc., a leading American wind component manufacturer, will display a 130-foot-long wind turbine blade, which was made right in Iowa, at a factory in Newton.
Wind power is not only a mainstream source of electricity in Iowa, producing 20 percent of the state's electricity, but across the country as well. The American wind power industry has installed 35 percent of all new electric generating capacity since 2007.
Wind power has been a growing contributor to Iowa's economy for the last 30 years, and today, Iowa is a national leader in wind energy installations and manufacturing. The industry has spurred more than $5 billion in investment in Iowa, making it one of the state's fastest-growing sources of manufacturing jobs.
All of the Republican presidential candidates are planning to sign the blade during the run-up to Saturday's straw poll, and the general public can sign it as well. In addition, Gov. Terry Branstad, U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, U.S. Reps. Tom Latham and Steve King, and a host of other Republican Iowa elected officials plan to put their pens to the Iowa-made wind blade. The TPI blade is located next to the American Wind Power tent.
"Today wind turbines are almost as much a part of Iowa's fabric as corn," said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. "Thanks to over 20 years of sound policy, wind power now comprises over 20 percent of the electricity powering the Hawkeye State, and the people of Iowa are glad it's here. A recent statewide poll showed that 81 percent of Iowa voters believe the growth of the wind industry has been good for Iowa's economy, and they would pick wind over any other power source by more than 3-to-1.
"And just as wind power has arrived in Iowa, it has arrived right here in Ames this week—in the form of a TPI Composites blade. We thank TPI Composites and General Electric for sharing this product with the presidential candidates, with attendees of the straw poll, and with America."
The TPI Composites factory in Newton, Iowa, is just one of many wind energy facilities in the state: Iowa has over 200 wind-related businesses in 55 counties. The blade on display at the straw poll was constructed by a team of 700 people and uses the same design as many of the blades currently generating power throughout the state, whose wind farms total 3,675 MW in capacity. General Electric is a major customer for TPI's blades.
Where other manufacturing industries have failed, wind power has succeeded. Newton, in fact, was once home to a Maytag plant that closed its doors and moved overseas in 2006. A portion of the Maytag facility is now occupied by another wind power supply chain member, Trinity Structural Towers. And TPI Composites is now providing well-paying U.S. jobs ranging from construction labor to aerospace design.
Thanks to the leadership of Gov. Branstad in 1983, Iowa enacted the nation's first renewable energy standard, which required Iowa's major utilities to include renewables in their portfolios, thus establishing a market for wind power so that the industry had the stability that would allow it to grow roots. Today, with a stable renewable policy in place for almost 30 years, Iowa has been able to take advantage of the economic benefits of wind energy such as job creation and manufacturing growth, new tax revenue for rural areas that need it, and land lease payments to farmers and landowners.
AWEA is the national trade association of America's wind industry, with 1,200 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the world's largest wind power trade show, the WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, which takes place next in Chicago, May 5-8, 2013. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America. Look up information on wind energy at the AWEA website. Find insight on industry issues at AWEA's blog Into the Wind. Join AWEA on Facebook. Follow AWEA on Twitter.