As Iowa Republicans gather across the state Monday evening in the bitter cold to caucus for their preferred GOP candidate, much of the electricity for their lights and heat may be coming from a surprising source: thousands of wind turbines that dot the heartland landscape.
Iowa is a deeply red state, and recent polling averages show a lot of love for the Republican primary frontrunner, former President Donald Trump. But the state stands apart from other GOP strongholds in a climate-friendly respect — it makes and uses far more clean energy than many blue states.
Iowa has been a wind energy behemoth for decades. Those spinning turbines powered 62% of Iowa’s electricity in 2022, according to the Energy Information Administration. It’s the second-largest producer of wind power in the country behind Texas, and it consumes the most wind power in the nation.
In a state dominated by agriculture, many view wind energy as another commodity, said Kerri Johannsen, the energy program director for the Iowa Environmental Council. Wind turbines are spinning throughout some of the state’s reddest areas, where many farmers lease their land to utilities — continuing to farm that land after the turbines are constructed.