Written By: Emma Websdale
Iowa’s wind energy generation avoids 8.4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and saves nearly 3.8 billion gallons of water a year, reveals a new report from Environment Iowa.
Iowa’s growing wind energy industry, which now provides 13.9 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity, has major economic and health benefits for the state, according to the group Environment Iowa.
The report, entitled Wind Energy for a Cleaner America, states that Iowa’s wind energy savings are the equivalent of removing 1.7 million cars from the road. The 8.4 million metric tons of pollution prevented by wind energy include 7,928 tons of nitrogen oxides and 9,793 tons of sulphur dioxide, both of which are responsible for causing soot build-up and acid rain.
The report also noted that the almost a 3.8 billion gallons of water saved by wind energy production were enough to meet the needs of over 158,000 people.
With wind power already producing 24.5% of the state’s total electricity, Environment Iowa predicts that the state could almost double its wind production by 2018.
Part of this success is MidAmerican Energy Co’s recent announcement of its investment of US$1.9 billion into a wind energy project in Iowa, which will become the largest single economic investment in the state. Once complete, the project is expected to add 1,050 megawatts (MW) of wind generation, create 460 construction jobs and cut customer rates by $3.3 million in 2015.
“Wind energy is one of the most rapidly growing methods of generating electricity, and is extremely beneficial to the environment”, says Harold Prior, executive director of the Iowa Wind Energy Association. “Wind generates no harmful emissions and uses no water for cooling purposes and the raw material [the wind] is a free constantly renewing resource.”
According to the report, in 2012 alone, America’s combined wind energy generation displaced approximately 84.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and saved enough water to meet the domestic water needs of more than a million people.