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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Alternative Energy Law (AEL)   

Last DSIRE Review: 12/03/2012
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

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

The Iowa Utilities Board has allocated the 105 MW between the two utilities based on each utility's percentage of their combined estimated Iowa retail peak demand in 1990. This breaks down to:

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

Compliance and Renewable Energy Credits
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’ 105-MW requirement. 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. For the present, IPL is fulfilling its entire obligation with wind while MidAmerican is fulfilling its obligation with wind and a small amount of biogas capacity.

In 2001, Iowa's governor established a secondary, voluntary goal of 1,000 MW of wind generating capacity by 2010.

Originally, for incentive ratemaking purposes, the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) interpreted the 105 MW specified in the statute as "average capacity" based on kilowatt-hour output. As a result, the IUB's interpretation of the statute mandated the payment of incentive rates for 260 MW of renewable energy -- the nameplate capacity of 105 "average" MW. After the FERC overturned Iowa’s renewable incentive rate program in 1997, the IUB rescinded the "average capacity" rate making concept, which is no longer part of the IUB rules.

  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 2013 - 2014 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.