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IEC, environmental groups propose alternative to MidAmerican's Wind PRIME proposal

On Monday, November 21, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Iowa Environmental Council, and Sierra Club filed joint testimony in MidAmerican’s Wind PRIME docket before the Iowa Utilities Board. MidAmerican’s Wind PRIME project, which would add 2,042 MW of wind and 50 MW of solar, relies on the company’s plans to continue operating five large coal-burning power plants in Iowa. These coal plants make MidAmerican the single largest carbon polluter in the state.

The testimony includes independent technical modeling analysis of MidAmerican’s generating fleet performed by Synapse Energy Economics and Energy Futures Group on behalf of the environmental groups. This analysis shows a balanced, reliable portfolio that adds a mix of battery storage, solar, and some wind, while retiring all of MidAmerican’s Iowa coal plants by 2035, delivers $120 million in cost savings relative to MidAmerican’s current plan, which focuses almost exclusively on new wind resources and continued coal burning. The alternative portfolio would also provide more around-the-clock clean energy than MidAmerican’s proposed Wind PRIME portfolio. 

"The status quo has led to escalating uncertainty around extreme weather, high fuel costs, and fears of energy shortages. This is not an acceptable future. MidAmerican must plan and invest now in a truly 100% clean system that works reliably and cost-effectively for Iowans. To ensure this transition delivers reliable and affordable electricity, MidAmerican needs to take steps now to study upgrades to the transmission system and to start development of adequate battery storage and solar," says Kerri Johannsen, IEC Energy Program Director.

Iowa Energy News 

Iowa Utilities Board denies Alliant solar, battery plan

The IUB recently denied an application from Alliant Energy for construction of 400 MW of solar and 75 MW of battery storage in Iowa. 

Reporting by the Cedar Rapids Gazette claimed that the Board stated Alliant did not consider alternative energy generation options that could be more reasonable.  

The board also noted that the changing conditions of the energy market made some of the utility's analysis outdated.

The proposed construction is part of Alliant's 2020 Clean Energy Blueprint.  

Lansing Generating Station approaching final days

Community members in Lansing, Iowa, are taking stock of a changing landscape as the final unit of the Lansing Generating Station prepares to close at the end of the year.

Alliant Energy announced the closure in 2020 as the utility makes a transition to cleaner energy sources, including natural gas, wind, and solar. Crews are preparing for the plant's retirement, with demolition and clean-up taking place in 2023 and 2024.

Read more about the plant's history and the reflections of community members in a story from the Waukon Standard.

Iowa's clean energy leadership paying off

The Clean Grid Alliance recently celebrated the renewable energy industry for resiliently powering through to provide affordable, reliable electricity for customers across the Midwest, where Iowa is a clean energy leader.

Iowa's clean energy economy is growing, and has already earned $23 billion for the state's economy. 

In addition to construction and development, Iowa has also invested in workforce development for the industry. With an additional focus on training veterans, they now make up 10% of the state's clean energy workforce. Read more here.


Farewell, Sonita!

Sonita van der Leeuw joined the 100% Iowa team in the fall of 2021 as a clean energy field organizer. Sonita's organizing work was instrumental in securing 24/7 carbon-free energy commitments in Waterloo and Windsor Heights this year. She recently accepted a new role as the transportation organizer with MN350 in her home state of Minnesota. Sonita shared her thoughts on her work and time with IEC in a farewell blog. The IEC staff and board wish Sonita the best of luck in her new role. Thank you, Sonita!

Featured Video

Watch Now: Solar Energy in Iowa - Policies and Practices at the Municipal, County, and State Levels

The Hubbell Environmental Law Initiative at the University of Iowa hosted a day-long event on solar policy and practices in Iowa on Tuesday, October 11. The event featured three sessions: Solar at the Local Level: How Can Iowa Support Customer-Owned and Community Solar?; Land Use Considerations: Is Utility-Scale Solar Compatible with Current Land Uses?; and Statewide Solar: What is Planned for a Reliable and Equitable Solar + Storage + Transmission Grid?. Watch all three panels here

IEC Events

Thank you to all who participated in IEC's inaugural Green Gala & Art Auction on November 10! More than 100 people filled the room at Mainframe Studios for music, networking, art, and awards! Between winning bids on the artworks, several exciting live auctions, and supporter ticket sales and donations, IEC raised more than $35,000 to support our clean energy work. We also honored four groups and individuals for their clean energy efforts. See more photos of the special evening and view the award winner videos here

Emcee Chris Gloninger welcoming guests on the main stage

Artist Lauren Joiner & guest Shola Joiner enjoying the evening

Business Innovation Award Winners Greenpenny Bank

Upcoming Energy Events

11/30: The Impact of the IRA on the Energy Industry Webinar, IWRC & IAEE

12/6: 2022 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, ACEEE

12/8: Breakfast Series: New Funding Options for Solar, Johnson Clean Energy District

12/14: White House Electrification Summit

12/21: Cozy Up with Clean Energy Savings, Clayton County Energy District

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

505 Fifth Ave. Suite 850 
Des Moines, Iowa 50309-2317

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