American Wind Energy Association Hosts Panel on Climate Change and Iowa's Wind Energy Leadership Ahead of the First-In-The-Nation Caucuses

27 Jan 2020

Today, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is hosting a panel event at Drake University featuring Iowa business leaders and renewable energy experts, to discuss the critical role of Iowa's wind energy leadership in addressing climate change. The event, "Climate Policy: Leading the Way with Renewable Energy," is moderated by WHO-TV Political Director Dave Price and featured on POLITICO as a live, national broadcast. 

Watch LIVE: Climate Policy: Leading the Way with Renewable Energy

The panel is covering topics including the role of wind energy in combating climate change, how the country can learn from Iowa's model of success, and how industries like wind are revitalizing rural America and forming a new clean energy economy. Just days before Iowans take part in the First-In-The-Nation caucuses, the issue of climate change remains a top priority with presidential candidates. 

Bill Menner, Executive Director of the Iowa Rural Development Council, praised Iowa's wind energy success in advance of the panel. "In rural communities across Iowa, working in the wind energy industry offers Iowans an opportunity to make a good living while staying in the community they love. With an affordable two-year degree, wind technicians in Iowa can expect to make upwards of $60,000 a year." Menner previously served as State Director of the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Program in Iowa and is an expert in economic growth in rural communities.

Daniel Lutat, Director of Sustainable Energy Resources & Technologies and Director of Governmental Affairs & Information for Iowa Lakes Community College, spoke to the value of the program he oversees in Estherville, Iowa. "Programs like the Wind Energy and Turbine Technology program here at Iowa Lakes Community College offer Iowans an affordable path to a career in an excellent field. I am proud to prepare my students to work in an industry that upholds high standards and benefits Iowans in a myriad of ways." 

Iowa has become a national leader in wind, one of the fastest growing and cheapest forms of new electricity generation, and ranks near the top in installed wind capacity, jobs supported, lease payments to farmers, and share of total electricity generation.

Kerri Johannsen, Energy Program Director for the Iowa Environmental Council, called for increased investment in renewable energy. "Shifting our energy production to a sustainable model with sources like wind energy is crucial to protecting Iowa's land, air, and water for future generations. Wind energy is clean, renewable, and cost-effective - a clear win for Iowa's economy and our environment."

Brian Selinger, Team Leader of the Iowa Energy Office for the Iowa Economic Development Authority, is an expert in energy and economic development with experience in state and local government. He praised the benefits of wind energy for Iowans as not just a sustainable power source, but a source of jobs. "Iowa's wind energy industry offers a win-win: environmental benefits and a boost to our local economies. Across the state, the wind power sector supports nearly 10,000 jobs and offers our farmers an additional revenue stream."

Jeff Danielson, Central States Director of the American Wind Energy Association, sees Iowa's wind industry success as a shining example of a sustainable step toward environmental responsibility. "The wind energy industry has taken great strides to counteract climate change--in Iowa alone, wind projects avoided the emission of 8.8 million tons of CO2. We have the technology, talent, and tenacity to tackle this challenge head on."

Chaz Allen, Executive Director of the Iowa Utility Association, highlighted the opportunities for Iowa's utilities to reduce carbon emissions in an efficient, affordable way. "Investing in renewable energy like wind power makes sense in our efforts to better serve our customers. Wind energy offers Iowans affordable, reliable power for the things they care about most."