Iowa’s renewable energy

Invest in Iowa’s renewable energy

Monday 13, February 2023

Capitalizing on Iowa’s renewable energy leadership will supply our state with more economic growth and energy prosperity.

The Gazette, Opinion

Craig Wiste, Operations Manager at EDP Renewables

When they say home is in the heartland, to me, that has always been in Iowa. For as long as I have lived here, I have always known Iowa to be the foundation of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Its various economic opportunities and energy independence have helped create opportunities here to grow and prosper. These opportunities are not only presented to farmers and small-business owners but also to those who work in the renewable energy industry, like me. Clean energy brings sustainable jobs, economic opportunities, and financial security.

As first in the nation for our share in electricity produced from wind, solar, and energy storage, Iowa continues to be a worthy contributor to U.S. clean energy generation. The electricity produced from renewable energy can power around 4 million average homes across the state each year. The wind energy industry alone has brought almost 4,000 jobs to our state, which in turn is 4,000 Iowans who can count on a stable, family-wage income.

One of those contributors to Iowa’s wind industry is my project, Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm. As the operations manager of EDP Renewables North America’s Pioneer Prairie and Turtle Creek Wind Farms, I am able to work close to home, have good job security, and show my community the benefits of clean energy. Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm has been safely and efficiently producing renewable energy since 2008. In the 15 years it has been operational, it has created more than 330 full-time construction jobs and 44 permanent jobs. Many local farm kids, ex-mechanics and veterans have all gotten jobs at our wind farm, supporting their local economy while simultaneously growing their income. Employees spend their paychecks in the area at local establishments like family-owned restaurants, stores, and other businesses. Pioneer Prairie has cumulatively contributed to more than $41.7 million spent within 50 miles of the project. Through additional investment in renewable energy, Iowa will create a vast amount of economic activity for years to come.

Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm has many landowners who have benefited from wind turbines and other infrastructure on their land. More than $17.6 million has been paid to the wind farm’s landowners, which has benefited farmers, allowing them to receive reliable payments even when their crops are not doing as well. I often have family and friends who host these projects confiding in me about the next batch of wind turbines coming in as a win for Iowa.

Pioneer Prairie has disbursed more than $21.2 million in payments to local governments to enhance our local schools, infrastructure, and emergency services. Pioneer Prairie also gives yearly donations to every area school for scholarships and building improvements.

Iowa has always been a state that thrives on independence and commitment. We uphold those principles by investing in renewable energy and helping future generations. Capitalizing on Iowa’s renewable energy leadership will supply our state with more economic growth and energy prosperity.