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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Alternative Energy Law (AEL)   

Last DSIRE Review: 10/31/2014
Program Overview:
State: Iowa
Incentive Type: Renewables Portfolio Standard
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Municipal Solid Waste, Anaerobic Digestion
Applicable Sectors: Investor-Owned Utility
Standard:105 MW of renewable generating capacity
Credit Trading:No
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Iowa Code ยง 476.41 et seq.
1983 (amended 1991, 2003)
Authority 2:
IAC 199-15.11(1)
Authority 3:
Date Enacted:
Iowa Utilities Board Order, Docket No. AEP-07-1

In 1983, Iowa became the first state in the U.S. to adopt a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by enacting the Alternative Energy Production law. The Iowa RPS requires its two investor-owned utilities (MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy Interstate Power and Light) to own or to contract for a combined total of 105 megawatts (MW) of renewable generating capacity and associated energy production.

As of the end of 2013, Iowa had more than 5,100 MW of wind capacity installed and led the U.S. with 27% of the state’s electricity generation coming from wind.

Eligible Technologies

Eligible resources include solar, wind, waste management, resource recovery, refuse-derived fuel, agricultural crops or residues, wood-burning facilities, or small hydropower facilities.


The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) has allocated the 105 MW requirement between the two utilities based on each utility's percentage of their combined estimated Iowa retail peak demand in 1990:

  • MidAmerican Energy: 55.2 MW (52.57% of demand) and
  • Alliant Energy Interstate Power and Light (IPL): 49.8 MW (47.43% of demand).

A utility must meet its RPS obligation by either owning renewable energy production facilities located in Iowa or entering into long-term contracts to purchase or wheel electricity from renewable energy production facilities located in the utility's service area.


The IUB issued an order in November 2007 (in Docket No. AEP-07-1) approving specific generating facilities designated by MidAmerican and IPL for satisfying the utilities’ RPS requirements. This order cleared the way for the utilities to participate in renewable energy credit (REC) trading programs by differentiating between renewable electricity production capacity used to comply with Iowa law and that which remains uncommitted. 

  Ellen Shaw
Iowa Utilities Board
1375 E. Court Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: (515) 725-7348
Web Site:
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.