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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.

Iowa Energy News 

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.


Take Action

Tell the IUB: Protect Iowans - Hold MidAmerican Accountable

As climate threats multiply and high energy bills hit, this is your chance to ask the Iowa Utilities Board to hold MidAmerican Energy accountable to protect the climate, protect Iowans’ health, and save customers money.

A recent analysis conducted by Synapse Energy Economics showed MidAmerican could save its customers a minimum of $1.2 BILLION by retiring its coal fleet by 2030 and replacing it with renewables. This clearly shows that MidAmerican's current plan to keep running its six Iowa coal plants indefinitely is both economically and environmentally irresponsible.

Iowans should not have to pay billions in extra energy bills while facing mounting healthcare costs and escalating climate impacts. MidAmerican must make a plan now to retire its coal plants by 2030 and the IUB can make that happen. Let them know - the time is NOW.

This issue is before the IUB and we encourage you to share your thoughts. Visit our website for copy suggestions and view this short instructional video on how to submit those comments:

IEC Energy Events and Activities

Join IEC for a look at what's ahead for Iowa's environment and the clean energy transition in the 2022 legislative session. Our staff will review IEC's policy goals for the year, discuss opportunities on the horizon, and share how you can help. Register now to join us on January 5 at 12:00 p.m. for this free event. 

With recently updated renewable energy siting ordinance best practice documents, IEC will host a series of webinars on renewable energy siting in early 2022. City and county leaders and staff are invited to attend the solar ordinance webinar on January 12 and the wind ordinance webinar on February 9. Share with your local leadership or register to attend. 

Utilities are critical partners in cities' abilities to meet their clean energy goals.

Cities are in a slightly different position - they have limited authority over the agreements they make for utility service. Encourage your local leaders to attend this webinar on January 20 to learn more about municipalization.


Upcoming Energy Events

1/4 - Quad Cities Green Drinks, Progressive Action for the Common Good (PACG)

1/5 - IEC 2022 Legislative Preview

1/10 - Climate Strike at the Capitol, organized by youth activist Lillian Hill

1/11 - Solar Energy Lunch & Learn, Newton - Eagle Point Solar

1/12 - IEC Solar Shines: Updated Siting Ordinances for Local Officials

1/20 - IEC's Energy Franchise Agreements and Municipalization: What Cities Need to Know

Have an upcoming event we don't have listed here? Send it to us at iecmail@iaenvironment.org


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Des Moines, Iowa 50309-2317

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