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 2nd in the nation in wind generation output


Iowa is a national leader in the wind industry. Iowa has the second 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 of a wind turbine.
  • 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 wind has surpassed the milestone of generating 20 percent and now generates 34% of the state's electricity from wind. That means Iowa wind farms now online power the equivalent of more than 2 million homes. It also means that there is abundant, reliable and sustainable electric power available for the businesses in Iowa. In addition, in 2018, direct wind industry jobs in Iowa reached nearly 10,000. 

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 all of Iowa's 99 counties having solar installations. Facts on the Iowa solar industry include:

  • There are currently more than 100 Iowa businesses involved in the solar energy supply chain in the state, employing nearly 850 people.
  • As of August 2019, Iowa had at least 118 megawatts (MW) of total installed solar capacity. 1 This is up from approximately 2 MW of solar installed in 2012.
  • Iowa is on track to exceed 1000 MW once the remainder of 2019 installations are added and with the addition of Worthwhile Solar Farm East (149 MW), Worthwhile Solar Farm West (300 MW), Big Dave Solar Farm (300 MW), and Wapello Solar (100 MW).2 

Other Resources

Solar Energy Fact Sheet - Iowa Solar Energy Trade 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 44 ethanol plants in operation, producing approximately 4.5 billion gallons per year.
  • Iowa alone accounted for over 27 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 4.5 billion gallons today. (Iowa Renewable Fuels Assn. 2019)
  • Iowa’s ethanol industry produced approximately 335 million bushels of distillers grains in 2018, 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 the potential for commercialization.

Other Resources:

Biofuels and Biorenewables - Iowa Economic Development Authority


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, non-toxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.
  • Biodiesel production was approximately 428 million gallons in 2018.
  • Iowa's 11 biodiesel plants have the capabilities to produce over 23 percent of the total U.S. biodiesel capacity. (EIA 2018)
  • The Iowa biodiesel industry adds $568 million of GDP annually. 

Other Resources:

Biofuels and Biorenewables - Iowa Economic Development Authority