The current population of Iowa is approximately 3.17 million people. In May 2019, state utilities used renewable energy (48.9%), coal (30.0%), natural gas (11.6%) and nuclear energy (9.5%) to generate electricity. Wind, and hydropower are the primary sources of renewable energy in Iowa.
Iowa’s reliance on expensive coal contributes to the state’s above average electricity prices. In May 2019, the average cost of electricity in Iowa was U.S. 14.0 ¢ per kWh, which is the 16th most expensive state in the United States. The average price of electricity in the United States in May 2019 was 13.3 ¢ per kWh.
Iowa is one of thirty states that has a statewide renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The RPS requires the state’s two investor-owned utilities, MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy Interstate Power and Light to each generate 105 MW of electricity from renewable energy.
Over the past fifteen years, the economics of low-cost renewable have prompted Iowa utilities to move from expensive coal-fired power plants to clean, green energy. Improvements in wind turbine technology and innovation have continued to increase power output, further reducing power costs.
Today, the lowest cost sources of electrical power without any subsidies are onshore wind, solar and hydropower. Economics are continuing to drive the development of new wind farms and renovation or re-powering of outdated wind turbines.
EDF Renewables has begun construction on the Glaciers Edge Wind Project in northwestern Iowa. EDF Renewables has signed a long-term power purchase agreement to supply Google power from the wind project. The 200 MW capacity Glaciers Edge Wind Project is scheduled to be completed by year-end 2019.
NextEra has begun the re-powering process on the Endeavor Wind Energy Center in northwestern Iowa. The 150 MW capacity wind farm was originally commissioned in 2008. The re-powering process includes replacing the cover housing, hubs and blades on all 60 wind turbines.
In 2005, Iowa’s use of renewable energy was almost nonexistent. Over the last fifteen years, Iowa’s increase in the percentage use of renewable energy is greater than most environmentally progressive states like California and New York.
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