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Iowa energy quick facts  Smart Choices Archive

Iowa energy quick facts

Wind turbines in Northwest Iowa. Courtesy of Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative

Energy Efficiency

There are more and more wind turbines dotting the landscape in Iowa, and solar collectors—community-based as well as individual units—are becoming more common. Iowa has added ethanol plants, too. So how is the status of energy production in Iowa?

Here is the latest from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, with Quick Facts about Iowa’s energy. This info was updated on March 16, 2017.  

  • Iowa is the largest producer of ethanol in the United States, with 25.9% of the U.S. fuel ethanol manufacturing capacity in 2016.
  • In 2016, Iowa ranked second among the states in net electricity generation from wind and third in net electricity generation from all non-hydroelectric renewable energy resources. (See note below on types of renewable energy sources.)
  • Wind provided 36.6% of Iowa’s total electricity generation in 2016, a larger share than in any other state. Wind was second only to coal as an energy source for electricity generation in the state.
  • Less coal has been used in recent years to generate electricity in Iowa. The total declined from 76% in 2008 to 47% in 2016, but coal is still Iowa’s largest source of net electricity generation.
  • Iowa ranked third among the states in consumption of liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) in 2014, in part because of heavy use of LPG in the industrial sector for activities such as drying corn crops and in the residential sector for heating.

What are renewable energy sources?
The U.S. Energy Information Administration lists these five sources:

  1. Biomass (includes wood and wood waste, municipal solid waste, landfill gas and biogas, ethanol and biodiesel)
  2. Hydropower
  3. Geothermal
  4. Wind
  5. Solar

So what about U.S. energy consumption and renewable energy use? In 2015, renewable energy sources accounted for about 10 percent of total U.S. energy consumption and about 13 percent of electricity generation.

Major energy sources and percent shares of U.S. electricity generation at utility-scale facilities in 2016 include: 

  • Natural gas = 33.8%
  • Coal = 30.4%
  • Nuclear = 19.7%
  • Renewables = 14.9%

Renewables can be broken down to these percents:

  • Hydropower = 6.5%
  • Wind = 5.6%
  • Biomass = 1.5%
  • Solar = 0.9%
  • Geothermal = 0.4%
  • Petroleum = 0.6%
  • Other gases = 0.3%
  • Other nonrenewable sources = 0.3%
  • Pumped storage hydroelectricity = -0.2%
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