The Inflation Reduction Act and what it means for Iowa
Originally posted on 8/10/22 in Energy News
IEC joins those in Iowa and around the nation in celebrating the recent passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Though the name wouldn’t seem to align with environmental efforts, this historic legislation includes the largest-ever package addressing climate issues through clean energy investment, renewable energy tax credits, and much more.
The bill is complex and far-reaching, and many — including our staff — are digging into the specifics. But here’s what we know at the outset:
- The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will address record inflation by paying down our national debt, lowering energy costs, and lowering healthcare costs.
- The Act makes progress on climate goals, including reducing emissions by 40% by the year 2030 and will go a long way to help the U.S. in international climate negotiations.
- The Act centers on decreasing dependence on foreign energy and supply chains as a matter of national security and increasing U.S. energy production and jobs.
Groups call on MidAmerican to add solar, storage to Wind PRIME plan
MidAmerican Energy's latest proposal to the Iowa Utilities Board asks customers to foot the bill for two systems: wind and coal. Increasing solar and storage, as many utilities around the country are doing, would allow MidAmerican to prudently transition its five Iowa coal plants into retirement while building a less risky and more affordable grid that is better for Iowans' health and pocketbooks. These are the key messages in testimony filed on Friday, July 29, 2022, on behalf of environmental groups.
National electricity expert Devi Glick of Synapse Energy Economics testified on the groups’ behalf that "Wind PRIME will create a wind- and coal-heavy system that MidAmerican ratepayers will be locked into for the next few decades."
Deployment of the Iowa Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Plan
The passage of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) authorized federal funds to support the continued development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Iowa's share of those funds sits at $7.6 million dollars for 2022, and will go towards developing an EV charging network along Interstates 29, 35, 80, and 380. On August 2, the Iowa Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment plan was submitted for federal review.
These programs will support the Justice40 Initiative which establishes a goal that at least 40% of the benefits of federal investments in climate and clean energy infrastructure are distributed to disadvantaged communities. Read more about the plan and learn how funds will be distributed here.
Update: Legislative activities at the Iowa Utilities Board
As the Iowa Utilities Board considers renewable energy applications, passage of the Inflation Reduction Act is forcing utilities to re-analyze the projects. IEC staff attorney Mike Schmidt participated in a two-day hearing this month about Alliant Energy’s solar and battery storage proposal. One week after the hearing, the Inflation Reduction Act became law and changed assumptions about the project’s impacts. The Board directed Alliant to file analysis that accounts for tax credits and other changes in Act.
Similarly, MidAmerican Energy requested approval for its Wind PRIME project earlier this year. MidAmerican will now provide an updated economic analysis for the project that IEC, our partners, and others will analyze before a multi-day hearing to be held in several months.
Watch Now: Justice40 and Iowa
Justice40 is a whole-of-government effort with the purpose of ensuring that federal agencies work with states and local communities to deliver at least 40 percent of all benefits from investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities. IEC staff have developed and recorded a short, on-demand presentation outlining the Justice 40 initiative, and how it aligns with federal funding opportunities such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the newly enacted Inflation Reduction Act.
New Publication: Iowa Electric Generation — Condition of the State 2022
IEC has published the 2022 Condition of the State report, analyzing Iowa's electricity generation and its impacts. Iowa’s renewable energy leadership has been often-praised and is real. But as the state approaches higher levels of renewable use, our electric utilities continue to own and operate massive coal operations, polluting Iowa’s air and water, risking health, and charging us unnecessary costs on our utility bills.
Business as usual, where Iowa utilities continue to burn coal well into the next several decades, is not necessary, not responsible, and will not make the fast but reliable clean energy transition we need possible.
The third annual edition of this report analyzes the state of Iowa's energy generation, where Iowa's emissions are coming from, and the impacts Iowa's remaining fossil fuel generation has on our environment, health, and pocketbooks.
Wild & Scenic Film Fest
IEC is hosting our first in-person Wild & Scenic Film Festival at the Palms Theater in Waukee on Sunday, September 11. We'll have a slate of great environmentally focused films, a live panel during the intermission, and all your favorite movie snacks!
Seating in the theater is limited and tickets are going fast, so get yours now to ensure you've got a seat. Don't wait — get your tickets now!
Webinar: Condition of the State
Join us on Wednesday, September 14 at 11:30 AM for a review of IEC's newly published 2022 Condition of the State Report. Attendees will take a closer look at the state of Iowa's energy generation, where Iowa's emissions are coming from, and the impacts Iowa's remaining fossil fuel generation has on our environment, health, and pocketbooks.
Green Gala & Art Auction
IEC's inaugural Green Gala & Art Auction, will take place on Thursday, November 10 at Mainframe Studios in Des Moines. We'll have music, energy-focused awards, and we'll auction off unique pieces inspired by Iowa's environment created by local artists to raise money for our work. Help spread the word and make plans to attend today!
505 Fifth Ave. Suite 850
Des Moines, Iowa 50309-2317