Consumer Information Energy Telecommunications
Elizabeth S. Jacobs
Nick Wagner
Board Member
Sheila K. Tipton
Board Member

Wind-powered Electricity Generation in Iowa

This information relates specifically to electricity generated from wind resources. For more information on electric generation in Iowa from all sources, please see the "Iowa's Electric Profile" page.

Iowa's Annual Wind Generation
Year Wind Nameplate Capacity MW(1) Wind Electric Generation MWh(2) Percent of Iowa's Total Electric Energy Generation from Wind(3)
2006 921.2 2,317,821 5.10%
2007 1,169.9 2,756,676 5.54%
2008 2,660.9 4,083,787 7.69%
2009 3,448.0 7,420,520 14.31%
2010 3,665.4 9,170,337 15.95%
2011 4,302.0 10,709,177 19.00%
2012 5,103.9 14,032,489 24.76%

2012 Wind Nameplate Capacity (MW) as a Percent of Total Nameplate Capacity by State

In 2012, Iowa was first in the nation in percentage of nameplate capacity from turbines fueled by wind compared to total nameplate capacity from turbines fueled by all fuel sources.  The chart below includes data for each of the 39 states that report wind generators per EIA 860.

Bar graph depicting 2012 wind nameplate capacity as a percent of total nameplate capacity by state

2012 Wind Generation (MWh) as a Percent of Total Generation by State

In 2012, Iowa led the nation in percentage of electric generation produced by wind compared to total generation from all fuel sources.  Iowa’s percentage of wind generation was more than seven times the national average.  The chart below includes data for each of the 39 states that report wind generation per EIA 923.

Bar graph depicting 2012 wind generation as a percent of total generation by state

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the regulatory requirements for siting a wind farm in Iowa?

    The IUB's siting requirements for electric generation facilities (199 IAC Chapter 24) apply to facilities with a combined nameplate capacity of 25 MW or larger.

    Through a series of Declaratory Rulings, the IUB has determined that these requirements can be waived for wind farms, if the total capacity on each feeder line is less than 25 MW (see order in Docket No. DRU-03-3; for the IUB rules on declaratory orders, see 199 IAC Chapter 4).

    The requirements in 199 IAC 24 do not address set-back distances for roads, farms, wetlands, or other towers.  Also, county and local governments may have additional requirements.

  2. What tax credits are available for developing renewable energy in Iowa?

    Under Iowa Code Chapter 476B, a state production tax credit of 1.0¢ per kilowatt-hour (kWh) is available for energy either sold or generated for on-site consumption by eligible wind energy facilities.  The maximum total amount of wind generating capacity eligible for the tax credits is 50 megawatts (MW). 

    Under Iowa Code Chapter 476C, a state production tax credit of 1.5¢ per kWh is available for energy sold by eligible wind energy facilities and certain other non-wind renewable energy facilities.  For applications filed after July 1, 2011, tax credits are also available for on-site consumption of renewable energy from facilities with a nameplate capacity of not less than 750 kW.  Otherwise, for earlier facilities, tax credits continue to be available only for energy that is sold.  For wind energy facilities, the maximum total eligibility is 363 MW. For other non-wind renewable facilities, the maximum total eligibility is 53 MW.

    The tax credit certificates are transferrable and may be applied toward the state's personal income tax, business income tax, or financial institutions tax.

    For more information see the IUB’s Renewable Energy Tax Credit page.

    Additional tax credits or exemptions may be available through programs not administered by the IUB.  For more information see:

  3. What is Net Metering and how does it apply to wind generation?

    Net Metering is a policy implemented in some states by electric utilities to ensure that any extra electricity produced by an on-site generator, such as a small wind system, can be used to offset the metered energy received by the customer during the billing period. 

    In Iowa, rate-regulated electric utilities are required to offer net metering to customers with on-site renewable generation.  Non-rate regulated utilities such as municipal utilities and most electric cooperatives are not required to offer net metering, but may do so voluntarily. Also in Iowa, net metering is a metering arrangement rather than a purchase agreement where a single meter reflects the net amount of electricity provided by the customer or purchased from the utility (outgoing kWh are netted against incoming kWh) and is intended for small renewable generators built primarily for the customer’s self-use.  If the facility produces excess electricity, the excess is carried forward for net metering in future months rather than purchased.  Currently, net metering is limited to capacity of 500 kW per customer (if the generator is larger than 500 kW, the output is prorated).

  4. Does Iowa have a renewable portfolio standard?

    Iowa’s alternate energy law was one the country’s first renewable energy policies and in many ways, was a precursor to today’s RPS.  Iowa has a capacity based requirement of 105 MW and associated energy, which rate-regulated utilities are obligated to purchase.  In 2007, the IUB issued an order that approved specific facilities designated by the rate-regulated utilities for satisfying this requirement.

Additional Information from Off-Site Sources

NREL Wind Speed Maps

The following maps show average annual wind speed at a height of 80 meters, which is a typical hub height for a utility-scale wind generator.  As the maps illustrate, Iowa has some of the best wind resource potential in the nation.

Graphic depicting average annual wind speed at a height of 80 meters (Iowa)

Graphic depicting average annual wind speed at a height of 80 meters (USA)

Iowa's Wind Farms and Wind-Related Businesses

Graphic depicting Iowa's wind farms and wind-related businesses

The information below is from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) website.(4)

Jobs & Economic Benefits

An investment in wind power is an investment in jobs, including jobs in operations and maintenance, construction, manufacturing and many support sectors.  In addition, wind power projects produce lease payment for landowners and increase the tax base of communities.

  • Total direct and indirect jobs support in 2012:  6001-7000.  State Rank:  Iowa ranks 3rd for number of wind-related jobs
  • Capital investment:  over $9.8 billion dollars
  • Annual land lease payments:  over $16,000,000 

Wind-Related Manufacturing

Nationally the wind industry has over 550 manufacturing facilities producing products for the wind industry that range from blade, tower and turbine nacelle assembly facilities to raw component suppliers including fiberglass and steel.

  • Number of manufacturing facilities in Iowa:  15 facilities

Iowa is home to Acciona, a major turbine manufacturer, two major blade manufacturers - Siemens and TPI Composites, and a major tower manufacturer - Trinity Structural Towers.  These facilities have created investment and opportunity throughout the wind energy supply chain for Iowa manufacturers.