Despite a tough year, the renewable energy industry is resiliently
powering through to provide affordable, reliable electricity for customers
across the Midwest. Among the vast open fields of America’s Heartland, Iowa
remains a clean energy leader. The Hawkeye State clean energy economy is
growing, and already earning $19 billion for the state’s economy.
over 10,000 megawatts (MW),
wind energy is Iowa’s biggest
power producer. Iowa gets nearly 60 percent of its in-state electricity production from wind power, the highest in the country. State and local taxes produce up to $65 million for the state
coffers every year, and an additional $74 million in annual land lease payments
are being paid to rural landowners.
Renewables offer much more than economic benefits – clean power
generation reduces emissions and uses virtually no water. Wind, solar and
energy storage projects saved the state from 12.7 million metric tons of CO2
emissions — the equivalent of taking 2.7 million cars off the road. The
equivalent of more than 2 million homes are powered by wind in Iowa.
solar sector has grown over the last year. Even though it ranks 35th in the
nation for installed solar energy, capacity reached nearly 288
MW at the end of 2020. That’s enough to power up to 37,000
homes. But, this is just a glimpse of what’s to come. Over the next five years,
Iowa’s solar capacity is slated to increase by 342 MW. Solar prices have
dropped 90 percent since 2009, making it one of the cheapest
electricity sources. The solar industry has already invested over $435 million
in Iowa, and the industry employs 1,029 people through its 50 solar companies, including 10 manufacturers, 31 installers
and developers and 9 other related companies.
also benefit from the great jobs offered by the renewable energy sector.
New, family-supporting jobs are emerging across the state. At the same time, local
businesses benefit from the economic ripple effect that comes from renewable
energy development. According to Clean Jobs Midwest, more than 32,000 Iowans were
employed in a clean energy job prior to COVID-19. These jobs grew 20 times
faster than the state’s overall employment in 2019. Renewable energy is the
second largest clean energy employer in Iowa, with 5,796 workers.
Iowa’s largest cities like Des Moines and Cedar Rapids have the largest number
of clean energy jobs, but rural areas enjoy an impressive 44 percent of these
an early adopter of wind energy, Iowa has also invested in educational
programs to build a workforce to support this growing industry. Iowa Lakes
Community College offers a Wind Energy and Turbine Technology program through
its Sustainable Energy Resources Technology building. In addition to promoting
wind workforce training for students, the state has worked on modernizing the
current U.S. wind technician workforce and creating more accessible career
opportunities for veterans through veterans-focused jobs programs.
is one of the nation’s leaders in developing and utilizing sustainable energy
resources, like wind energy, to create good-paying jobs for folks in our state.
The backbone of this industry is the workforce that powers it,” said Iowa
Senator Joni Ernst.
the United States energy sector transitions to a clean energy economy, states continue to implement
strategies to incorporate more renewables and set carbon-reduction goals. Iowa
embraced this new energy future, which encouraged more growth for the state’s
economy. In fact, Iowa was one of the first states to adopt a renewable energy law.
Despite the small requirement that major utilities acquire 105 megawatts of
renewable energy sources, Iowa’s leadership in the energy sector has translated
to significant and meaningful benefits for Iowans across the state– and that’s