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Alternative Energy Law (AEL)

Investor-Owned Utility
Savings Category 
Solar Thermal Electric
Solar Photovoltaics
Wind (All)
Municipal Solid Waste
Landfill Gas
Anaerobic Digestion
Program Info
Sector Name 
Program Type 
Renewables Portfolio Standard
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.