A new report from the American Clean Power Association shows Iowa leads the nation in the percentage of electricity generated by renewable sources. Nearly 58% of electricity generated in Iowa in 2020 came from wind turbines and solar panels.

“It’s important news for the state of Iowa, not just for consumers, but from an economic development standpoint,” said Ron Corbett, vice president of economic development for the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. “A lot of people are aware of some of the national directive and worldwide directive that we’re moving in and it’s good to see Iowa on the front end of the curve.”

Corbett said companies looking to locate in Iowa aren’t just asking about the labor market and property issues, they’re asking about the state’s renewable energy portfolio.

“We’re seeing that request for renewable energy more and more in our business attraction effort,” Corbett said.

Iowa businesses are able to use the renewable energy pitch, too, according to Corbett.

“Many of the largest companies that use our manufacturing community as suppliers, they’re requesting the small manufacturers to show what they’re doing from a sustainability standpoint,” Corbett said, “and specifically are they able to source things using renewable energy.”

According to the American Clean Power Association, more than 5000 Iowans are directly employed in the renewable energy industry. The association estimates the companies that have installed wind farms in Iowa made $60 million in lease payments to Iowa farmers and other landowners in 2020.