New report: Iowa among national leaders in wind energy growth

Decade-long analysis details dramatic clean energy growth in Iowa and nation

Environment Iowa Research & Policy Center

Des Moines — Iowa ranks number two in the nation for wind and solar generation as a percentage of the state’s electricity consumption, according to a new report released today by Environment Iowa Research & Policy Center. Renewables on the Rise 2021: The rapid growth of renewables, electric vehicles and other building blocks of a clean energy future documents the growth of six key clean energy technologies across the U.S. over the past decade: solar power, wind power, battery storage, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and heat pumps. As of 2020, Iowa generates enough wind and solar power to meet 69% of its electricity demand. This analysis comes as nine states in the nation have committed to 100% renewable energy and as  leaders in Congress work to advance legislation that would invest in the nationwide transition to clean power.  

“It’s so exciting to see Iowa putting the wind in our nation’s clean energy sails,” said Jolie Jaycobs, Clean Energy Associate with Environment Iowa Research & Policy Center. “Iowans can look forward to a cleaner, healthier future, thanks to the state’s leadership in wind power.” 

Beyond top-ranking wind and solar generation as percentage of electricity consumption, Iowa has also seen a three-fold increase in wind power production since 2011, ranking third nationwide for growth in wind power over the past decade. In large part due to this growth in wind power, Iowa is now one of three U.S. states to generate enough wind and solar to meet more than half of its electricity needs with these renewable resources. 

In addition to highlighting states that have made the most progress in adopting renewable energy technologies, the research also details the rapid gains achieved nationally over the past decade. According to the report, America produced almost four times as much renewable electricity from the sun and the wind in 2020 as in 2011. Additionally, if wind, solar and geothermal generation continue growing at the same 15% annual rate, renewables could meet the nation’s current electricity needs by 2035. 

“Millions of Americans and Iowans are already reaping the benefits of the dramatic clean energy progress we’ve made so far,” Jaycobs said. “But, there’s more to do to transform the vision of 100% clean and renewable energy for Iowa — and America — into a reality. Iowa has a head start on many other states when it comes to wind power, but strong and supportive policies will be key to continuing to tap into the state’s renewable energy potential and catching up with its neighbors in solar power and other areas.”