Supreme Court limits EPA’s ability to act on climate
Posted in IEC's Newsroom on 6/30/22
The Supreme Court’s decision is a defeat for Iowans and everyone in the United States. Addressing climate change is an urgent need and decarbonizing our electricity is among the first steps we must take. By restricting the Environmental Protection Agency from using a system-wide approach to address climate change under the Clean Air Act, the decision makes it harder to mitigate carbon, methane, and other fossil fuel emissions that will drive human suffering and death around the world.
“This reversal of precedent to restrict EPA’s ability to regulate the energy system as a whole to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will delay the transition to clean energy and was procedurally unnecessary,” said Michael Schmidt, IEC staff attorney. “By limiting EPA’s regulatory authority under §111(d), today’s decision will increase the impacts of climate change on human health and the environment in Iowa and around the world.”
Iowa has seen increasingly hotter temperatures and erratic weather, such as the unprecedented derechos and wild storm systems like the series of 63 tornadoes that caused damage across Iowa in December 2021. Worldwide, deadly heatwaves, rampant wildfires, and widespread flooding are attributable to climate change. This year’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes clear that we must act quickly and must start immediately.
IEC will continue to push Iowa’s utilities to fully decarbonize electric generation. “Iowa is in a position to transition to clean energy, but we need MidAmerican, Alliant, and other utilities to step up,” said Kerri Johannsen, IEC’s energy program director. “Switching to reliable, clean electricity generation allows other sectors to make the transition as well. Today’s decision made this critical first step more difficult.”
Big tech pushes back on cost of MidAmerican's $3.9 billion clean energy plan
In January of this year, MidAmerican Energy announced plans for a $3.9 billion renewable energy project in Iowa, including new wind and solar generation and the exploration of emerging clean energy technologies.
While Iowa's vast clean energy resources have attracted investments from companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, the tech giants are now raising questions about the project's price tag and whether the project is necessary or merely a money grab.
IEC's energy program director, Kerri Johannsen, weighed in on the conversation saying "she doesn't understand MidAmerican's need to spend money to study storage, a critical component in ensuring renewable energy is reliably available for consumers when they need it."
Iowa DOT developing EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan
The Iowa Department of Transportation recently announced Iowa’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan, which was made possible by funding secured through the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
As part of the plan, Iowa is coordinating with other states to create plans for a national electric vehicle charging network along major transportation corridors. This network will offer convenient EV charging opportunities and create a more reliable travel network for electric vehicles within the state, as well as across the country.
While the public survey is now closed, Iowa residents can sign-up for updates to stay engaged in this project going forward.
Navigating Des Moines' cooperation statement with MidAmerican
Following the contested passage of new 13-year franchise agreements with MidAmerican Energy, the Des Moines City Council voted unanimously to approve a non-binding Joint Clean Energy Statement of Intent to Cooperate.
This “side agreement” is now an important tool to hold MidAmerican Energy accountable in working to meet the city’s clean energy and climate goals and includes language “to develop a long-term hourly load forecast to include energy and peak demand for City facilities and communitywide."
Learn more about what's promised and what's missing from the cooperation statement in a blog from IEC's Clean Communities Manager, Matt Ohloff.
Paige Penningroth joined the 100% Iowa team in early 2020, most recently serving as the project's energy communications and field assistant. Paige recently graduated from Drake University with a degree in Environmental Sustainability and Resilience and is soon headed off to her next chapter of employment with Northland College in upper Wisconsin. The IEC staff and board wish Paige the best of luck in her new role and look forward to engaging with her on environmental issues well into the future. Thank you, Paige!
Watch Now: Electrification in Iowa, transitioning to all-electric technologies for a carbon-free future
Learn more about electrification, opportunities for electrification in our state, and how it can benefit the clean energy transition in this new video from 100% Iowa.
7/12: Rural Energy Forum: Building Distributed Generation in Iowa, Center for Rural Affairs
7/6: The Right to a Healthy Environment, Part 1: The United Nations General Assembly’s Consideration of the Right to a Healthy Environment, Environmental Law Institute
7/13: The Right to a Healthy Environment, Part 2: The United States’ Consideration of the Right to a Healthy Environment, Environmental Law Institute
7/18: Speaking of…Summer Energy Use, City of Iowa City
7/20: The Right to a Healthy Environment, Part 3: Subnational Consideration of the Right to a Healthy Environment in the U.S., Environmental Law Institute
7/26–7/27: VERGE Electrify, GreenBiz
7/27: Solar Power Hour, Grow Solar Polk County
7/28: Environmental Justice (ELI Summer School, 2022), Environmental Law Institute
7/31: 2022 Rooftop Concert, Dubuque County Energy District
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