Industry study: Value of Iowa wind energy outweighs its costs

The wind resource in Iowa is so productive and the cost of wind energy has been falling so precipitously that the value of wind now far exceeds its cost there, according to an industry study released this week.

The analysis, conducted by the American Wind Energy Association at the request of the non-profit Wind Energy Foundation, also claims that doubling the state’s installed wind capacity would lower the cost of power so much that the typical residential customer’s monthly bill would fall, possibly by as much as $10.

Given that Iowa is a national leader in the development of wind energy, the study was intended “to spell out the benefits” of wind energy to consumers in the state, said Michael Goggin, the senior director of research for the American Wind Energy Association and the study’s lead researcher. With about 6,500 megawatts, Iowa ranks second nationwide for the amount of installed wind capacity, and first in terms of the proportion of its electricity derived from wind – about 35 percent at present.

Another 2,500 megawatts are under development, but,“there’s potential to do even more,” Goggin said. “As wind costs come down, I think it looks even more attractive to do more wind.”

A just-published survey of 163 of “the world’s foremost energy experts” seems to confirm that. Asked where they see the cost of wind energy headed, the group indicated that, on average, they expect it to fall by 24 percent by 2030, and by 35 percent by 2050. Some foresee a greater drop; others expect no change.


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