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Iowa Leads the Nation in Green Energy Production
California Ranks Sixth on the List


Iowa only has 3,976 wind turbines; about a fourth of how many Texas has, however Iowa generates three times more energy from wind turbines than the Lone Star State.

A study by the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that Iowa generates forty percent of its electricity from wind and solar farms. Thusly, Iowa ranks first in the nation for electricity produced by non-hydraulic renewable sources, followed closely by Vermont and North Dakota at 39% and 37% respectively.

Interestingly enough, Iowa has achieved this rank one status without the aggressive renewable energy policies set in place in other states such as California and New York. What this exemplifies is that geography, population and politics can have a large impact on how renewable energy is obtained. Iowa has approximately only a tenth of the population of California and is a third of the land size; yet Iowa has much more flat and open areas, with less tree coverage, which are conducive characteristics to harnessing the high winds and direct sunlight. Simply put, when you have a state like Iowa, obtaining these renewable sources, and utilizing them for energy, becomes much easier because there are less people, which equates to more open land and ultimately more of an opportunity to push forward with these green initiatives.

Statistics recorded by the EIA show that "wind provided 36.6% of Iowa's total electricity generation in 2016, a larger share than in any other state." This marks a noticeable trend of Iowa leading the nation in wind energy, as Iowa ranked number one as far back as 2008, arguably the year wind farming truly took flight.

However, while there is a large emphasis on wind power in the state, Iowa ranks seventeenth for solar power alone. In the end, the combination of these two sources, wind and solar, place Iowa well into the lead of which state generates the most electricity by renewable sources. It will be fascinating to see if California's goal of reaching 50% harnessed renewable energy sources by 2050 will change the rankings and if Iowa will be able to compete with larger states like Texas, New York and California in the coming years.

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September 20, 2019, 2:37 pm PDT

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