Iowa plays a leadership role in renewable energy.

Renewable Energy & Fuels

Iowa’s strong agricultural and manufacturing heritage has placed the state in the leadership positions in the renewable fuels industry areas of wind power, ethanol and biodiesel production.

  • Iowa ranks 1st in the nation in the production of ethanol
  • Iowa ranks 2nd in the nation in wind generation output
  • Iowa ranks 3rd in the nation in the production of biodiesel


Iowa is a national leader in the wind industry. Iowa has the second most installed wind capacity of any state (behind Texas) and has attracted many major wind manufacturers.Iowa’s attractiveness for manufacturing and supply companies in the wind industry is multifaceted.

  • Iowa has a supply chain of over 250 companies that are already providing components and services to wind industry manufacturers.
  • Logistical cost savings and supply chain efficiencies allow companies to ship components in and finished products out at a significantly lower cost than other states.
  • Iowa is a right to work state that offers tax benefits and financial assistance to support industry growth.
  • Comprehensive wind energy training programs are provided through seven community colleges and three regent universities. These focus on wind turbine operations and maintenance and manufacturing.

Iowa is working to lead the way to new innovation in the wind energy industry. The Iowa Alliance for Wind Innovation and Novel Development, (IAWIND), is a dynamic partnership between state and local governments, community colleges, universities, the private sector, community organizations and the federal government. It is designed to serve as a catalyst for the growth of wind energy and to facilitate the research and training needs of its community colleges, the state and the wind energy industry.

  • Currently online: 4,322 megawatts (MW)
  • Added in 2011: 647 MW
  • Under construction: 470 MW
  • Wind projects in queue: 14,569 MW

Iowa wind has surpassed the milestone of generating 20 percent and now generates 22.89% of the state's electricity from from wind. That means Iowa wind farms now online power the equivalent of more than 1,100,000 homes. It also means that there is abundant, reliable and sustainable electric power available for the businesses in Iowa.

Other Resources:

State Fact Sheet – American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)

Iowa Industry Fact Sheet - Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA)


Iowa leads the nation in ethanol production. Some impressive industry statistics include:

  • Iowa is "First in the Nation" in ethanol production nationwide.
  • Iowa has 41 ethanol plants in operation, producing approximately 3.7 billion gallons per year.
  • Iowa alone accounted for over 28 percent of the entire U.S. ethanol production.
  • Iowa’s biofuels industries have added $13.1 billion dollars to Iowa’s economy, generated $2.4 billion dollars in new household income, and created and supported 49,000 Iowa jobs.

Iowa is going beyond production and supporting exciting growth in companies that are converting outputs into secondary product lines, such as dried distiller’s grains (DDSs), a co-product that is a highly nutritious livestock feed . The dramatic increase in the number of companies employing co-production techniques is the direct result of applying technology and innovation from the food industry to the renewable fuels industry. This has yielded profitable co-products including carbon dioxide, industrial alcohol, corn oils and antioxidant ingredients such as nutraceutical oil and carotenoids. Research has also shown that fabrics and plastics are two co-products with potential for commercialization.

Iowa company, POET, was selected as the recipient of an $80 million federal grant for its Project LIGERTY, which is poised to be the first commercially viable cellulosic energy plant in the world and is expected to produce 125 million gallons of ethanol of which approximately 25 percent will be derived from cellulose. Iowa is the ideal location to pave the way into commercial cellulosic ethanol with convenient access to primary rail lines and abundant water resources.


Iowa ranks third in biodiesel production nationwide. Biodiesel is a clean burning alternative fuel, produced from domestic, renewable resources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum, but it can be blended at any level with petroleum diesel to create a biodiesel blend. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines with little or no modifications.

  • Biodiesel is biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.
  • Biodiesel production increased from 25,000 gallons in 2005 to 184 million gallons in 2012.
  • Iowa has 15 biodiesel plants producing a combined capacity of approximately 325 million gallons.