- Iowa’s 5,688 MW of installed wind capacity is a mere 1% of the state’s 570,000 MW of theoretically possible wind resource, according to a new report, "Iowa’s Wind Potential for Addressing 111(d) Goals." The abundant resource is more than adequate to cost-effectively meet the state’s Clean Power Plan emissions requirements and can also provide pollution-free wind power to help neighboring states comply.
- The report, released last week from two veteran energy analysts, is not the first to reach this conclusion, Midwest Energy News reports. The U.S. Department of Energy Wind Vision concluded it is technically and economically feasible for Iowa to add 21,000 MW of new wind capacity by 2030.
- Wind development capital investment will reach over $10 billion by the end of 2015, according to the Iowa Wind Energy Association.
Building on a growing body of optimistic reports about the state's wind potential, two industry analysts released a report last week highlighting Iowa wind's ability to help neighboring states' meet their pollution cuts required under the Clean Power Plan.
A National Renewable Energy Labs survey found that because of Iowa wind’s capacity factor it could generate 2,000,000 GWh of wind-generated electricity annually while Illinois, to its immediate east, could only produce 760,000 GWh and Missouri, to its immediate south, could only produce 800,000 GWh. Wisconsin, to the immediate northeast, has only a 300,000 GWh annual potential.
Estimates of wind production vary because of natural gas price volatility, evolving environmental regulations, and the uncertainty around Congress's extension of wind’s Production Tax Credit.
Nevertheless, it appears that wind generation in Iowa is significantly cheaper than in Illinois or Indiana in part because of new transmission to connect it to demand centers. Clean Line Energy Partners (CLEP) is working to build the $2 billion, 500 mile high-voltage direct current (HVDC) Rock Island Clean Line to deliver Iowa wind to Illinois, Indiana, and, through the PJM Interconnection transmission system, to denser populations with less access to wind from Ohio and Pennsylvania to Virginia and Maryland.
The Rock Island line’s impact on electricity market supply-demand balance could cut “the annual cost of wholesale electricity used to serve Illinois customers by an estimated $320 million in its first year of operation,” according to CLEP.