State business and civic leaders, including President and CEO of the Ames Chamber of Commerce Dan Culhane, joined Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg to launch a statewide coalition called Power Up Iowa Wednesday.
The coalition, according to a press release, consists of renewable energy supporters who advocates for local, state and federal policies that grow wind energy investments in Iowa. The coalition will work to educate, raise awareness and participate in conversations with the state’s leaders.
“Today was all about launching Power Up Iowa, which is a coalition made up of more than 60 leaders from various sectors, focused on advancing wind energy across the state,” Makenzie Heddens, deputy director for Power Up Iowa, said. “Generally, people are supportive of wind energy, but I think one of the stories that gets lost in translation is the economic benefits of wind.”
Participants in the press conference, held at the Des Moines Area Community College campus in Ankeny, discussed the positive impact wind energy has on Iowa’s economy and workforce, and, according to Culhane, “Power Up Iowa has been created to promote the wind energy industry and the renewables in general in our state.”
“Wind energy has provided significant returns to investors and significant job opportunities,” he said. “We are also a leader as a state in the technology and equipment we have to harness the wind.”
This announcement came just one day after President Donald Trump took aim at wind turbines, claiming the noise causes cancer.
Heddens said they are aware of the comments and “respectfully, there is research out there showing there is no linkage between the sound of turbines and cancer, as Trump indicated. They don’t cause any harm to human health.”
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, called Trump’s wind energy claim “idiotic.” Sen. Joni Ernst, also a Republican from Iowa, called Trump’s claim “ridiculous.” Reynolds, who spoke at Thursday’s event, didn’t address the comment when asked by reporters.
Iowa ranks second in the nation in installed wind capacity, and the state generates of a third of its electricity using wind power. According to the press release, between seven and eight thousand Iowans have wind-related careers.
Culhane believes this topic is very important to people throughout the state and in Story County.
“As a market, there’s a high level of interest in renewable energy, whether it’s the wind or solar,” he said.
The coalition hopes that, by participating in conversations with state leaders, they can drive more support for renewable energy and attract new investments that will influence future prospects and economic potential.
“We have a lot of support across the state. I think together our voice will really build awareness, and we can really build that story and cultivate our longstanding role as leader in wind energy,” Heddens said.
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