Renewable energy report highlights economic impact in Iowa

A new study shows wind and solar renewable energy produces billions of dollars of economic impact for Iowa.

The findings — by Goss & Associates and released by the Iowa Conservative Energy Forum — detail that wind investment and construction produced $34.5 billion in total impacts, $9.7 billion in wages and salaries and $3.7 billion in self-employment income since 1992.

Between 2020 and 2025, solar investment and construction is expected to produce $3 billion in total impacts, $669.6 million in wages and salaries, $352.5 million in self-employment income and will support an average of more than 3,000 jobs per year.

For solar projects “in the pipeline,” Iowa landowners and farmeres would experience an economic impact of $86.2 million, the report said.

“Iowa is a national leader in the adoption and generation of renewable energy,” said Dr. Ernie Goss, economics professor at Creighton University and Principal at Goss & Associates, in a statement. “Our report shows the economic importance of Iowa’s leadership in terms of lower electricity prices, state and local tax collections, and economic impacts.”

The report’s excutive summary found that Iowa’s electricity price was 82% of the U.S. average in 2021, and only 13 states had cheaper electricity prices than Iowa. Carbon emissions also fell from 2010 to 2019 for a 42% reduction following the state’s expansion of renewable energy.

Sept. 26 – Sept. 30 is Clean Energy Week in Iowa after Governor Kim Reynolds issued a state proclamation. The energy sector currently employs more than 28,000 employees and wind turbines account for 58% of the state’s electricity, she said in the proclomation.

Whirlpool announced this month they intend on reaching net zero emissions at its U.S plants by 2030. The company operates a plant in Amana.