Seeking the best solution, breeding innovation, and an inherent calling to take care of one another are just a few of the characteristic traits common among Iowans. These traits have led our state to hold numerous "first in the nation" titles. First in corn, first in soybeans, first in eggs, and first in high school graduation are just a few. Another comes from our leadership in renewable energy. In 2021, Iowa generated 58 percent of its electricity from wind power, generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of more than 3.8 million American homes and making us the number one state for a share of electricity generated by a renewable source.
Iowa’s congressional representation have positioned themselves to defend our first in the nation title and lead the charge to support renewable energy. I am proud to be a part of it.
Renewable energy is good for all Iowans – not just Democrats or Republicans. Iowa's senior U.S. Senator, Chuck Grassley, is known in the halls of the U.S. Capitol to be the “father of wind.” He wrote and expanded the tax policy that allowed wind to energy to grow. Senator Joni Ernst has shown leadership in renewable energy by supporting legislation to bolster Iowa's wind workforce. I have been involved in advocating for more transmission lines to help bring our Iowa-generated renewable energy to broader markets.
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Impressively, the entirety of Iowa's congressional delegation has recognized the benefits of renewable energy and worked on its behalf. Iowans know the economics show that renewable energy increases economic opportunity, attracts businesses, and creates jobs -- these factors plus Iowa’s consistent bounty of wind make it the right choice for our state.
You don't have to take my word for it; the data speaks for itself. The renewable energy industry has helped us create the 5,000 strong renewable energy workforce our state boasts, and Iowa saw $22 billion in capital investment. These economic boosters were coupled with $127.9 million generated in annual state and local tax payments and $68.9 million in annual land lease payments. All of this is to say, the time and effort Iowa leaders have put into making Iowa a destination for renewable energy investment have brought economic benefits to all Iowans -- not to mention the positive impact made with domestically produced energy that is good for the environment.
Along with my colleagues in Congress, I want to see Iowa landowners empowered to participate in renewable energy projects as they see fit so they can enjoy those economic benefits. Land lease payments have brought a flood-proof, drought-proof, derecho-proof crop that is available to our farmers. Participation in the many renewable energy projects across our state means consistent, reliable income at a time when many of Iowa's farmers are facing their financial future with uncertainty. It also means valuable local tax dollars into our schools and county roads that helps keep property tax increases at bay.
One of the best ways to ensure that Iowa sees all the benefits of renewable energy both statewide and within communities is to ensure that big government and overregulation do not stand in the way. Our policies should promote the renewable energy leadership that has done so much good for our Iowa. Regulating away the ability for a landowner to participate in a project or for a community to reap the tax revenue from wind and solar in their area is the fastest way toward losing our national leadership and reducing the many positive impacts renewable energy has brought our state.
Iowa is first in the nation for a reason. We know that working together to make our country stronger is key to moving forward. Republican leaders are ready to defend our status as the first in the nation for renewable energy.
Randy Feenstra was born and raised in Hull, Iowa, where he has served as city administrator, Sioux County Treasurer, and Iowa state Senator. In January, the Republican began serving his first term in the U.S. House, representing Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.