Coal has always been Iowa's primary source of electricity, but that might be about to change. Over the past 5 years (2011-2016), wind power has grown from about 19% to 37% of Iowa's total electricity generation. The only state that produced more wind power than Iowa in 2016 was Texas. Coal made up 47% of Iowa's 2016 electricity generation, but that's down from 68% in 2011.
Iowa's only nuclear power plant, Duane Arnold, typically produces about 10% of the state's electricity. The hydroelectric dams in Iowa typically contribute about 2% of the state's electricity production. Biomass and petroleum power plants also provide small amounts of electricity generation. Iowa renewable energy investments are driven by state policies, like the Renewable Portfolio Standard, which requires utilities to use a minimum percentage of renewable sources.
Iowa Electricity Prices
Iowa has a regulated electricity market, whereby local utility companies set and control electricity prices, generation, and delivery in their service areas.
Fortunately, Iowa residents still benefit from lower electricity prices relative to the rest of the country. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price of electricity for Iowa residents in December 2016 was 10.66¢ per kWh, which is 1.55¢ below the average U.S. electricity price of 12.21¢ per kWh.
Residential electricity prices are still on the rise in Iowa, though, having increased more than 17% over the past 5 years. This trend has led to higher electricity bills for Iowa residents, motivating many to switch to renewable energy (i.e. go solar) to save money.
Iowa Energy Mix
Net Electricity Generation By Source:
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2016
From 2010-2015, wind power went from about 16% to 32% of Iowa's total electricity production. Over the same period, electricity production from coal fell more than 27%.
Iowa Energy Sector Employment
According to the 2016 Clean Jobs Midwest Report, the Iowa renewable energy industry employs about 7,866 people. Wind power creates more jobs than any other source of electricity in Iowa. About 70% of the renewable energy jobs in Iowa are related to installation & maintenance. Some of the largest energy companies in Iowa are MidAmerican Energy, NextEra Energy, and Alliant Energy.
Fun fact: more Americans are employed by renewable energy than coal, oil, and gas combined, despite wind and solar energy only making up 5% of the total U.S. energy mix. According to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, solar energy creates over 7 times more jobs than coal or oil per MWh produced. The employment estimates for wind power differ from source to source, but most agree that it also produces more jobs than fossil fuels.
Iowa Utility Companies
Some of the largest electric utilities in Iowa are MidAmerican Energy, Alliant Energy, and the Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO). Being in a regulated energy market, these utilities own the entire flow of electricity in their territories and also dictate electricity prices. As such, they are responsible for generating electricity, maintaining infrastructure, delivering electricity, and providing billing to all their residential and business customers across the state.
- Serves approximately 760,000 electric customers in Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota and Nebraska
- Headquartered in Des Moines, IA
- Founded in 1995
- Serves approximately 960,000 electric customers in Iowa and Wisconsin
- Headquartered in Madison, WI
- Employs approximately 4,000 people
Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO)
- Provides electricity to 13 rural cooperatives serving approximately 312,000 Iowa electric customers
- Headquartered in Cedar Rapids, IA
- Formed in 1946
Arcadia's Iowa Renewable Energy Services
With Arcadia’s clean energy offerings, homeowners and renters across the state can now sign up to reduce their impact, be more energy efficient, and save on their energy bills while keeping their same utility company. Here are three programs currently available to Iowa residents:
As an Iowa utility customer, you can reduce your impact by matching your home’s electricity usage with renewable energy certificates from wind farms. You can sign up for our 50% Wind Energy plan for free, and begin service with your next utility bill. All you need is your local utility login to link up with Arcadia’s platform and start supporting wind farms each month at no extra cost to you.
We offer a community solar-savings program to homeowners and renters in Iowa. No matter where you live, you can subscribe to community solar projects across the country and start saving on your utility bill each month. There aren’t any installations, site visits, or equipment necessary, and if you move, your savings will even move with you.
Zero-down Energy Efficient Products
Our pay-as-you-save energy program enables Iowa utility customers to access energy efficient products for $0 down. We will offer LED light bulbs, Wiser Air Smart Thermostats, and other home energy products to help you be more efficient and save on your utility bills. As an Arcadia customer, you can simply pay for your efficient products over time using the energy savings you’ll start seeing each month.