Iowa renewable energy and energy efficiency

Renewable energy and energy efficiency programs exist across the state of Iowa across a wide range of technology types and are available for residential, commercial, and utility-scale customers.

A history of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Iowa

Iowa has grown to become a leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency in recent years. Iowa has become known especially for wind power, with more than 36% of the state's energy being generated by wind turbines. This is the highest percentage of any state in the United States, and Iowa is also among the top states for wind power in terms of installed wind capacity, with more than 7,312 MW as of the end of 2017.1 Iowa has invested more money in wind power than any other state in the US, with the exception of Texas.

Iowa became the first state in the United States to adopt a Renewable Portfolio Standard in 1983 when the Alternative Energy Production law was enacted.2 In 2005, Iowa's legislature passed two production tax credits for renewable energy. Iowa Code Chapter 476C enacted a credit of 1.5 cents per kWh for a variety of renewable energy facilities, including wind, solar, and biomass. A 1 cent per kWh production tax credit was created by Iowa Code Chapter 476B for electricity generated in wind facilities.3 In 2006, the Iowa Utilities Board initiated a push for energy efficiency in Iowa which included the Iowa Weatherization Challenge, which involved the board finding volunteers and donations to finance and implement weatherization measures for low-income families, disabled individuals, and the elderly.

Iowa's Renewable Portfolio Standard

Iowa first enacted its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in 1983, becoming the first state to do so in the United States. Iowa's RPS requires a minimum of 105 MW of energy to be generated from renewable energy resources by the two major utilities in the state, MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy Interstate Power and Light. Eligible technologies include wind, solar, resource recovery, agricultural crops or residues, refuse-derived fuels, waste management, small hydropower facilities, or wood-burning facilities. Since the implementation of its RPS, Iowa has moved far beyond its original goal, with well over 7,000 MW coming from wind alone.

Important renewable energy organizations in Iowa

An important organization in Iowa is the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB). What is today the Iowa Utilities Board began as the Iowa Board of Railroad Commissioners in 1878. The organization changed its name in 1937 to the Iowa State Commerce Commission to reflect growing responsibilities. The Iowan legislature added regulation of utilities to the Commerce Commission's responsibilities in 1963. In the 1970's, regulation of motor and rail transportation was moved to the Department of Transportation, and in 1986, the name was changed to the Iowa Utilities Board. The IUB is led by three appointed commissioners who serve six year terms. The IUB works to ensure that utilities provide reliable, safe, reasonably priced, and environmentally responsible services to all Iowans.

Another important organization in furthering renewable energy and energy efficiency in Iowa is the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), founded in 2001. MISO operates across fifteen US states and the Manitoba province in Canada. MISO is one of the largest ISOs in the world, with over $29 billion in gross market energy transactions annually. MISO's cornerstones are effective communication, customer service, and operational excellence. MISO is led by an independent Board of Directors who are elected by the members of the organization and serve three-year terms. Members of the Board of Directors are also required to meet certain qualifications designed to ensure that the Board is comprised of capable individuals.

Utilities are also major players in the state of Iowa in the furthering of renewable energy and energy efficiency goals. The largest utility in the state of Iowa is MidAmerican Energy, which is headquartered in Des Moines and serves over 1.6 million customers in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Illinois. Iowa's second largest utility is Alliant Energy. The division of Alliant Energy that serves Iowa is called Interstate Power and Light Company. Alliant Energy is committed to its four core principles: building a stronger and smarter power grid, strengthening communities, providing innovative customer solutions, and advancing clean energy.

Iowa programs

Iowa has many clean energy programs available. Listed below are the current offerings:

How to go solar in Iowa

You can install solar panels on your property and benefit directly from solar energy in Iowa. The best way to go solar is to compare multiple quotes - you can join the EnergySage Marketplace for free to begin comparing your options from installation companies near you. Want to start with a little more research? Check out average prices for solar in Iowa, or read through reviews of the best local solar installers in Iowa.


  1. EIA. “Iowa State Profile and Energy Estimates.” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  2. DSIRE. “Alternative Energy Law (AEL).” Accessed October 28, 2020.
  3. Iowa Utilities Board. “Renewable Energy Tax Credits.” Accessed October 28, 2020.

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