Recently you saw on our Facebook page some important clean energy news. MidAmerican Energy Company announced plans to invest $1.9 billion in wind energy projects in Iowa. The power company plans to install 656 wind turbines throughout the state, adding 1,050 megawatts of wind generation.
This clean energy investment will:
Create jobs: Create 460 construction jobs over two years and 48 permanent jobs.
Save money: Is expected to cut consumer rates by $3.3 million in 2015, growing to $10 million annually by 2017.
Benefit farmers and the state: Landowners that allow turbines on their land will be paid $3.2 million annually and the state is expected to generate more than $360 million in additional property tax revenues over the next 30 years.
Attract businesses: Facebook recently chose to locate a new data center in Iowa, in part because the company wants to meet its goal of getting 25% of its power from clean sources.
It's no wonder that clean energy enjoys such strong support when projects like this are creating jobs, attracting investment, saving consumers money and reducing pollution. More than 70% of Americans support expanding wind power and a whopping 85% of Iowans see wind energy as a positive for the state.
Smart politicians of both parties have already seen that running on an overwhelmingly popular issue like wind power can contribute to winning campaigns. In our Running Clean report, we describe the way that President Obama campaigned on wind energy during the 2012 election. He cited his support for federal tax incentives for wind energy (and his opponent's opposition to them) during stump speeches, in a television ad and in a special website dedicated to Iowa wind. Conservative Republicans in the state like Rep. Steve King and Rep. Tom Latham took the same position as the president, supporting wind energy and even urging Mitt Romney to change his mind. On election day, the President won the state by 6 points.
While some Members of Congress and other Washington insiders may think of clean energy as a wedge issue, the news out of the heartland shows that isn't the case on the ground. In the real world, clean energy is creating jobs and saving consumers money. And those are concepts that voters in both parties can agree on.