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2014 Year-in-Review: Biofuels, Data & Wind, Oh My!

January 13, 2015

From new data centers and the expansion of renewable energy companies, to the success of startups and the growth of the state’s Home Base Iowa program, the past year has seen a significant amount of new investment and opportunities for the state.

  • Let’s begin with some recognizable names: Facebook and Microsoft. These companies made a combined investment of more than $2 billion in Iowa with their expansion projects. In April, Facebook announced the second phase of its $1 billion data center project in Altoona. In the same month, Microsoft announced plans to build a $1.1 billion data center in West Des Moines, its second major investment in the same community. The presence of companies such as these within the state has undoubtedly strengthened Iowa’s foothold as a technology leader. 

Although Iowa boasts a low cost of doing business, a well-educated workforce and a friendly business environment, it was the state’s commitment to renewable energy that sealed these deals. In October, MidAmerican Energy announced plans to further invest in wind farms and turbines within Iowa. This move will bring the company’s state project total to 21 and will represent an investment of more than $6 billion. Facebook and Google formed agreements with MidAmerican to use its renewable energy to power their in-state data centers. 

  • The state’s biofuels sector was also one to make a splash this year, as Quad County Corn Processors produced the state’s first ever gallon of commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol. The northwest Iowa company announced the achievement in July 2014. Other Iowa companies quickly followed with similar announcements, as POET-DSM opened its $275 million cellulosic ethanol facility in Emmetsburg two months later, and DuPont unveiled its $225 million cellulosic ethanol plant that is scheduled to begin production in Nevada, Iowa this year.

  -IEDA Marketing Team



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