Leeco Steel has been an active supplier and supporter to the wind energy industry for more than six years. As the main supplier of plate steel to the wind industry in North America, we understand the industry itself is quite young in the United States. We have seen it evolve first hand into an integral component of a national energy policy. Leeco’s Steel’s involvement with wind energy has not been on the perimeter. We have rolled up our sleeves and educated ourselves on best practices; immersed ourselves in our customers’ business; and took action on national policy as a board member of the American Wind Energy Association.
Wind energy has already proven a reliable energy source by providing significant amounts of electricity across major parts of the United States. Iowa produces more than 20 percent of its electricity from wind, and wind energy recently provided more than 25 percent of the electricity being used across 11 Midwestern states. A 2012 report from Synapse Energy Economics found wind energy can save the average Midwestern household up to $200 per year.
Reports from Minnesota show that in 2011, wind power contributed 12.7 percent of its electricity generation, supported up to 3,000 jobs and contributed $8 million in land-lease payments. And that is just one state.
Data and analysis from utilities, the government and independent utility system operators confirm adding wind energy displaces large quantities of fossil fuel use and carbon dioxide pollution. That’s because when the wind is blowing, the electricity generated displaces the output of the most expensive, least efficient power plants. Utility operators accommodate gradual and predictable changes in wind output with the same tools they use to deal with fluctuations in electricity demand as well as sudden outages of large fossil and nuclear power plants, which are far more costly to deal with.
Leeco Steel understands wind power is a vital component of a national energy policy, and we know the Rock Island Clean Line is a smart idea for our energy independence.
John Purcell, vice president of the Energy Division of Leeco Steel and American Wind Energy Association Board member