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Alternative Energy Law (AEL)

Investor-Owned Utility
Savings Category 
Program Info
Program Type 
Renewables Portfolio Standard
Iowa Utilities Board

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 After the FERC overturned Iowa’s renewable incentive rate program in 1997, the IUB rescinded the "average capacity" rate making concept, which is no longer part of the IUB rules.