University of Michigan Gateway Ford School

Renewable Energy in Iowa

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May 2020

Austin Glass*, Karl Hoesch*, Nocona Sanders*, University of Michigan


Iowa is located in both the geographic center of the United States and at center stage for the nation’s energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables. For the last three decades, Iowa has been a national leader in wind energy despite relatively little explicit climate policy. Increasing numbers of turbines in Iowan fields have caused the energy industry to become entwined with agriculture, an integral part of the state’s identity. Discussions of the role of renewables in the state’s energy mix now occur daily among small-town Iowans, and the state’s position among the earliest of presidential campaign battlegrounds means these conversations are amplified nationally every four years. Iowa’s future as a renewable energy leader depends on sound state-level policies.

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