The Majority of Iowa’s Energy Now Comes from Wind


Josie Taylor | April 12, 2021

The proportion of Iowa’s energy that comes from wind is at almost 60%, the highest in the United States. 

Iowa added around 540 wind turbines this past year, despite the global pandemic, bringing the total number of wind turbines in the state to almost 5,900, according to the American Clean Power Association.

Some parts of Iowa have already made it far above 60%. In the Des Moines metro area, wind supplies more than 80% of its energy, which is 19% higher than in 2019, according to Mid American Energy. 

Although wind is Iowa’s main energy source, solar energy is expected to increase dramatically in Iowa’s future. Seven large solar projects already under development in the state, and they will add roughly 1,740 megawatts to the grid once completed.

President Biden has set a goal for the nation to reach 100% sustainable energy use by 2050 through wind and solar energy. For Iowa, this is a very attainable goal. Sustainable energy has been on the rise in Iowa for the past decade. Coal supplied 71% of Iowa’s energy in 2010, and it now supplies only 22%. 

Iowa continues to lead the nation in sustainable energy production, and the increase in sustainability isn’t projected to stop any time soon. 

Report: Iowa could get 40 percent of power from wind by 2020

Data from the American Wind Energy Association's recent report: "A Wind Vision for New Growth in Iowa." (American Wind Energy Association)
Data from the American Wind Energy Association’s recent report: “A Wind Vision for New Growth in Iowa.” (American Wind Energy Association)

Nick Fetty | July 17, 2015

Iowa leads the nation generating 28 percent of its electricity from wind energy and a new study shows that number could increase to 40 percent by 2020.

During a presentation at Des Moines Area Community College on Thursday, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released a report entitled “A Wind Vision for New Growth in Iowa.” The report used data from the U.S. Department of Energy to analyze the economic and environmental impacts of wind energy in Iowa.

Over the next five years the report predicts that wind energy in Iowa will generate over $49 million in annual property tax revenue, more than $19 million dollars each year in payments to farmers and other rural Iowa landowners, an annual savings of 3.7 billion gallons of fresh water, and more than 6 million metric tons of annual carbon emissions. The report also predicts that by 2050 wind energy could save Iowans more than $3.5 billion on utility bills.

The report outlined several successful case studies of wind energy in Iowa including MidAmerican Energy’s $6.7 billion investment in wind energy over the past decade, the Rippey wind farm and the farmer-owned Junction Hilltop wind farm in Greene County, and the Siemens’ wind turbine blade manufacturing plant which with more than 600 workers is the biggest employer in Lee County.

“Iowa is already a leader in wind energy, but this report shows the Hawkeye state has just scratched the surface of wind power’s benefits to the state,” AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan said in a press release.

A report released by the AWEA in April found that Iowa added more than 2,000 jobs to the wind energy sector between 2013 and 2014. Iowa’s wind energy sector currently employs more than 7,000 and wind turbine manufacturing makes up the majority of Iowa’s manufacturing industry with 13 factories and assembly plants around the state.

Worldwide demand for small wind turbines this year

Photo by Mike Gifford, Flickr

Large wind farm producers have no had the best time in 2011, while the small wind turbine manufacturing industry continues to grow.

Radio Iowa reports:

Industry experts say the demand for larger-scale wind farms leveled off in the last year while the demand for the smaller turbines that can power homes, schools or farms enjoyed growth. A new brief released by the American Wind Energy Association at its meeting in Des Moines says the generating capacity of the small wind systems across the nation grew 26% last year. Continue reading

Johnson County wind farm ordinance approved

Photo by Brooke Raymond, Flickr

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors gave their approval for a wind farm ordinance last week that makes it easier to build turbines on agricultural land.

Read more from the Iowa City Press-Citizen here:

Johnson County is a step closer to having its own wind farms after the Johnson County Board of Supervisors approved a new ordinance governing their use Thursday. Continue reading