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

Wind

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: 7,308 megawatts (MW)
  • Under construction: 736 MW

Iowa wind has surpassed the milestone of generating 20 percent and now generates 36% of the state's electricity from from wind. That means Iowa wind farms now online power the equivalent of more than 1.85 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)

SolarIowa's solar industry is growing fast.

The maturing solar energy industry in Iowa has seen huge growth with nearly all of Iowa's 99 counties having solar installations. Facts on the Iowa solar industry include:

  • There are currently more than 47 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in Iowa, employing 600 people.
  • 60 MW of solar capacity was installed in Iowa in by the end of 2017. Iowa ranks 17th nationally in the technical potential for solar energy production. .
  • The Solar Energy Industries Association projects that Iowa will add 221 MW of solar capacity over the next 5 years with a mix of residential, commercial/agricultural, and utility installations. 

Other Resources

Solar Energy Fact Sheet - Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association 

Ethanol

  • 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 4.3 billion gallons per year.
  • Iowa alone accounted for over 26 percent of the entire U.S. ethanol production.
  • Annual ethanol production increased by 893 percent from 2000 to 2017, from 440 million gallons in 2,000 to 4.3 billion gallons today.
  • Iowa’s ethanol industry produced approximately 470 million bushels of distillers grains in 2016, 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.

Other Resources:

Biofuels and Biorenewables - Iowa Economic Development Authority

Biodiesel

Iowa ranks first 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 423 million gallons in 2017.
Iowa's 12 biodiesel plants have the capabilities to produce over 17 percent of the total U.S. biodiesel capacity.

Other Resources:

Biofuels and Biorenewables - Iowa Economic Development Authority