Retiring MidAmerican's Coal by 2030 Could Save Iowans $1.2 Billion, According to New Analysis
Analysis filed earlier this month with the Iowa Utilities Board shows that MidAmerican Energy could save Iowans nearly $1.2 billion by retiring all of its coal plants by 2030.
The analysis, independently conducted by Synapse Energy on behalf of the Iowa Environmental Council (IEC), Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC), and Sierra Club, concluded that replacing the coal plants with renewable resources, such as wind, solar, and battery storage, was the most cost-effective option while ensuring reliable service to customers.
Massachusetts-based Synapse Energy Economics has provided similar independent analysis for numerous utility, nonprofit, and governmental clients across the globe over the last 25 years, including the U.S. Department of Energy and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
"These savings are consistent with studies across the country: coal is on its way out because it is simply too expensive. MidAmerican needs to do the responsible thing for customers and commit to retiring all of its plants by 2030 and replacing them with clean energy," said Katie Rock, Beyond Coal Campaign Representative for Sierra Club.
Natural Gas Dependency: Rising costs and its impact on everyday Iowans
Natural gas prices are increasingly unstable, with Iowa utility providers warning that rates could surge as much as 49% this winter compared to last year. When those companies pay higher prices for natural gas, they pass that cost directly on to the customer.
IEC Energy and Climate Policy Specialist Steve Guyer teamed up with Jack and Carole Yates, Cedar Valley environmental justice advocates and members of the Black Hawk County NAACP, to co-author an opinion piece on the issue.
"No utility customer should face a 30-50% increase in their monthly heating bills with little to no warning all because a utility doesn’t move away from its dependence on fossil fuels," they write.
Utility challenges IUB ruling for increased transparency
On December 8, MidAmerican Energy appealed an administrative ruling that it must share long-range resource planning documents with environmental groups and other stakeholders. Unlike many states, Iowa does not require utilities to regularly file an integrated resources plan, which provides stakeholders insight into a utility's plans.
“MidAmerican has been working to slow down this process and avoid outside input or additional oversight of its plan,” said Michael Schmidt, IEC staff attorney in the story from Energy News Network.
This move illuminates a broader fight over transparency and accountability surrounding MidAmerican’s clean energy transition.
Staff Introduction: Meet 100% Iowa organizer Elizabeth Wagner
We're pleased to introduce Elizabeth Wagner, the most recent addition to the 100% Iowa team! Elizabeth is a senior at The University of Iowa where she studies Environmental Policy & Planning. She is excited to applying her passion for sustainability & conservation to her new role.
"I look forward to collaborating with local residents, organizations, and businesses, working together towards our goal of an equitable transition to 24/7 carbon-free electricity," she shares in her blog post.
Learn more about Elizabeth, her background, and what sparked her interest in our work in her introductory blog.