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 the production of biodiesel
  • Iowa ranks 3rd in the nation in wind generation output


Iowa is a national leader in the wind industry. Iowa has the third most installed wind capacity of Iowa leads the nation in wind energyany state, and has attracted many major wind manufacturers.Iowa’s attractiveness for manufacturing and supply companies in the wind industry is multifaceted.

  • Iowa, with its robust supply chain, is able to manufacture all major components wind turbine components.
  • 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.
  • Currently online: 5,710 megawatts (MW)
  • Under construction: 679 MW

Iowa wind has surpassed the milestone of generating 20 percent and now generates 28.53% of the state's electricity from from wind. That means Iowa wind farms now online power the equivalent of more than 1.5 million 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)

SolarIowa's solar industry is growing fast.

The maturing solar energy industry in Iowa has seen huge growth with $36 million invested on solar installations in 2014. Facts on the Iowa solar industry include:

  • There are currently more than 45 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in Iowa, employing 900 people.
  • 15MW of solar capacity were installed in Iowa in 2014, a 347% increase over 2013.  Iowa ranks 21st nationally in 2014 installed solar capacity.
  • Of the solar capacity installed in Iowa in 2014, 4920 kW were residential and 10270 kW were commercial.
  • The 20MW of solar energy currently installed in Iowa ranks the state 31stin the country in installed solar capacity.  There is enough solar energy installed in the state to power 2340 homes.
  • In 2014, $42 million was invested on solar installations in Iowa.
  • Average installed residential and commercial photovoltaic system prices have dropped steadily across the nation— by 6% from last year and 53% from 2010.

Other Resources

Solar Spotlight Iowa - Solar Energy Industries Association


  • Iowa leads the nation in ethanol production. Some impressive industry statistics include:
  • Iowa is "First in the Nation" in ethanol production nationwide.
  • Iowa has 43 ethanol plants in operation, producing approximately 3.9 billion gallons per year.
  • Iowa alone accounted for over 27 percent of the entire U.S. ethanol production.
  • Annual ethanol production increased by 760 percent from 2000 to 2014, from 440 million gallons in 2,000 to 3.8 billion gallons today.
  • Iowa’s ethanol industry produced approximately 1.2 billion bushels of distillers grains in 2012, the highest by any state. 

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 LIBERTY, 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.

Other Resources:

Biofuels and Biorenewables - Iowa Economic Development Authority


Iowa ranks second 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 325 million gallons in 2014.
Iowa's 12 biodiesel plants have the capabilities to produce over 14 percent of the total U.S. biodiesel capacity.

Other Resources:

Biofuels and Biorenewables - Iowa Economic Development Authority