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Council sets goal to reach 100% clean power in Iowa by 2035

Originally posted on Thursday, August 26, 2021 in Energy News

The Iowa Environmental Council recently announced its vision for Iowa to reach 100 percent clean power generation by 2035.

“Achieving 100 percent clean power in Iowa by 2035 is absolutely doable and the critical first step for Iowa to do its part in addressing climate change,” said Dr. Brian Campbell, executive director of the Iowa Environmental Council. “Our state can and must provide the reliable and cost-effective clean energy necessary to support Iowa’s economy. This presents an opportunity for growth, attracting businesses with clean energy goals, and substantially increasing jobs, farm incomes, and local tax revenues.”

Iowa is thriving with 5,000 jobs in the wind energy sector, 1,000 solar jobs, and nearly 18,000 people employed in making homes and businesses more energy efficient. Many more workers will be needed to build the clean, smart infrastructure necessary to reach this 2035 goal. Land-lease payments for renewable energy currently add up to almost $70 million annually, with local government receiving $129.5 million in tax revenues from renewables. Transitioning away from fossil fuels to clean energy will grow these income streams.

“Iowa is already leading, and we have the power to do even more here in Iowa to make a positive impact. Like any important goal, this will require implementing solutions, overcoming challenges, and countering misconceptions. This shift to clean power requires many actions, including increasing electric generation from renewable sources, developing storage and transmission capacity, investing in energy efficiency, and closing Iowa’s coal-fueled and natural gas-fueled power plants.

“Clean power by 2035 is good for the health of Iowans, good for the health of Iowa’s economy, and good for Iowa’s environment. The Iowa Environmental Council is excited to set 2035 as the goal for clean energy in Iowa and welcome all those ready to join us in working toward this goal.” 

Energy News 

IEC's 2021 Condition of the State

IEC recently released the report 2021 Iowa Electric Generation, Condition of the State, which analyzes fossil-fueled generation compared to renewable generation, as well as risks posed by the state’s current energy generation mix that relies on fossil-fueled generation. The report also explains the fallacy of utility claims of providing 100% clean energy to their customers.

“Unfortunately, due to misleading utility marketing efforts, many Iowans believe we are already approaching 100% renewable energy. The truth is, we have a long way to go to achieve a true 100% renewable vision and, in the meantime, the continued use of coal generation has consequences that impact every Iowan,” says Steve Guyer, IEC's energy and climate policy specialist who authored the paper. 

Read a summary of the refreshed report and its findings in IEC's newsroom. 

Polk County's climate action resolution

On September 14, the Polk County Board of Supervisors voted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from county operations by 90% by the year 2040.

The supervisors overwhelmingly voted to approve a resolution adopting a Climate Action Plan, which will be integrated into all aspects of the county’s planning, when possible.

The resolution also establishes a Climate Action Team, made up of inter-departmental leaders who will work with an energy consulting firm on an energy audit. The team will make policy recommendations to the board, lead the plan implementation, and track and report progress to the board.

The vote follows the City of Des Moines adoption of a resolution in January calling for the city to run on 100% clean energy by 2035. For a refresher on the commitment and the campaign, read our overview here

Meet 100% Iowa's newest organizer!

Earlier this month, Sonita van der Leeuw joined the 100% Iowa team as a Clean Energy Field Organizer. 

As a recent graduate of Drake University, Sonita hopes to put her  degree in Environmental Sustainability and Resilience to good use in her outreach role.   

"I learned how to have a variety of conversations regarding science and conservation. These experiences really changed me and helped me see what sort of energy I want to put out when talking about science or the environment and how to be an effective educator," she writes, reflecting on past work experiences. 

Learn more about Sonita, her background, and what drew her to IEC's work in her introductory blog post


Iowa Climate Resiliency Forum, Featuring Representative Cindy Axne

On September 1, IEC hosted a virtual discussion with Representative Cindy Axne and a panel of Iowa advocates. The conversation focused on needed federal infrastructure investments in climate resiliency and clean energy. View a recording on our YouTube channel of IEC's event, Iowa Climate Resiliency ForumLearn more about our esteemed panelists below:

Emily Rice is the Chief Operation Officer for The Energy Group, a private energy consulting firm in Des Moines, Iowa. She believes energy efficiency is fundamental to both energy affordability and climate mitigation, and when leveraged strategically serves as a powerful economic driver for our communities. Emily is appointed to the Governor’s Building Code Advisory Council and is a Grist 50 Award Winner.

Seth Watkins is the fourth generation of his family to care for Pinhook Farm, established near Clarinda in 1846 by his Great Grandfather James Shambaugh. Today Pinhook Farm includes both owned and rented acres that support a beef cow calf operation, crop production, and an outfitting business. Seth attributes the growth and success of the operation to making Stewardship, not production, his number one priority.

Karin Stein is the field organizer for Moms Clean Air Force in Iowa and co-leads the organization’s Ecomadres program, which educates and empowers Latino parents to advocate for climate action on behalf of their children. A Kellogg resident, Karin is also a mother to three grown daughters and an accomplished Latin musician who takes inspiration from her roots in Colombia and Costa Rica.

Upcoming Energy Events and Activities

Join IEC on Wednesday, October 13 at 11:30 AM for the third and final event in our webinar series looking at the impacts of excess coal generation here in Iowa. 

All the Iowa coal generation in 2020 was excess generation and not needed. Iowans are paying with their lives, health, and safety and farmers are paying a significant corn production penalty from unnecessary coal plant pollution. Coal plant emissions are increasingly being recognized as significantly impacting our health, and are silent killers. 

This free event is virtual. Can't make it for the live event? A recording will be made available to view at your convenience. Visit the registration page to sign-up today.


You're invited to join us Thursday, November 18 for Bright Ideas 2021, recognizing the benefits and discussing the future of clean energy for Iowa.

Our energizing time will start with a keynote address by Dr. Destenie Nock, an awards presentation recognizing Iowa businesses and individuals practicing the promise of clean energy, plus small group networking opportunities. We invite you to nominate an individual, organization, or business you feel is deserving of acknowledgment during our program.  Nominations close tomorrow,  September 30 at 5 p.m.

You can join us however you feel most comfortable: in-person for brunch in Des Moines, Waterloo, or Iowa City; or virtually wherever you are!


IEC News

We're hiring! 

We've been busy advancing the clean energy transition in Iowa, and we are adding to our team! We have one part-time opening for our 100% Iowa project and our IEC energy program.
If you or someone you know values our mission and work,  visit our website to see the openings and learn how to apply.
Questions about any of the openings? Contact us at iecmail@iaenvironment.org. And thank you for your continued support that makes our work possible!

IEC Justice Wear Collaboration 

IEC was honored to be selected by The Side Garage as their September charity of the month. Development and Fundraising Director Jordan Bles shared this month why he's excited to be partnering with this company in a recent blog post

The partnership included the design and printing of several limited-edition justice items for sale in The Side Garage's humankind store

Take a look and place your order by Thursday, September 30 and The Side Garage will donate $10 per item back to IEC!

Upcoming Energy Events

9/25 - 10/3 - National Drive Electric Week

9/30 - West Des Moines Drive Electric Event, Valley Junction Farmers Market

10/1- Electric School Buses: Communities in the Driver’s Seat, National Drive Electric Week

10/3 - Climate Change Theatre Action, ISU Department of Music and Theater

10/13 - IEC's Coal Plants: The Price Iowans Pay, Webinar 3

10/16 - Called to Climate Action, Iowa IPL

10/19 - 10/27 - 2021 National Conference on Energy Efficiency as a Resource, ACEEE

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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