Over the past two decades, Iowa has installed over 5,000 megawatts of wind capacity and gained 4,000 related jobs. Iowa landowners receive $16 million each year in the form of land lease payments. Wind projects contribute tax revenue to local counties and municipalities, providing funds for important local services and schools.
That’s why 85 percent of Iowans favor wind energy over every other generating source.
While Iowa has plenty of wind, the infrastructure to move that power around the state and region lags behind. There are several transmission projects under development that would close this gap.
These projects are threatened by three bills now in the state legislature. If passed, they would do little beyond adding red tape, making it harder to site and construct transmission projects that provide needed infrastructure relief.
Iowa has a regulatory system that enables public feedback and oversight of the transmission development process. Although there is room for improvement, that system works. Changes should bring more Iowans into the process to share their input and insight, rather than imposing new requirements that make improvement projects impossible to build.
Modern infrastructure must be in place to carry wind energy where it is needed if Iowans are to benefit from this growing industry. Ensuring projects are built in a way that works best for Iowans means local landowners and communities must be involved.
Rather than imposing unhelpful regulations, let’s develop policies that improve this process for communities while making use of this popular and valuable resource.