Articles filed under Energy Policy from Iowa
MidAmerican still gets 30 percent of its electricity from coal ..."The 100 percent renewable energy vision is a bit of a gimmick," said Josh Mandelbaum, an Environmental Law & Policy Center senior attorney, "It's pretty misleading if MidAmerican is giving customers the impression that's all they have to do."
President Donald Trump has come under fire from wind-energy advocates for comments he made during a recent speech in Cedar Rapids. While promoting his “America First” energy plan, Trump stated, “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories … as the birds fall to the ground.”
Now that Iowa now has more than 3,200 wind turbines and ranks No. 1 in the nation for the share of electricity coming from wind energy, counties are getting tougher about where turbines are built, how much noise they make and how much they disturb nature.
Wind farms would be forbidden within two miles of a residential property without the owner's permission, according to a measure that proposes strict new limits on where the tall turbines could be built.
Last week, several senators proposed a new version of the renewable-power mandate, hoping Congress might pass it in a lame-duck session after the election. But one analyst, Kevin Book of ClearView Energy Partners, gives the measure "near-zero odds" of passing. "I would be reluctant to invest in more wind generation right now unless I knew I was required to do it or the market price of power was higher."
Transportation -- of both giant wind turbine parts and the electricity they eventually generate -- remains the biggest hurdle to continued growth of wind power, an Iowa utility official says. Neither an extensive network of farm roads in a state like Iowa nor the existing corridors of high-power electric lines match the expanding needs of wind farms.
Today, state Rep. Tom McMillin of Michigan introduced a resolution (H.R. 277) urging his state's governor to withdraw Michigan from continued participation in the Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord (MGGRA), an agreement among the region's governors to reduce greenhouse gases through a regional cap-and-trade program. ...nearby participating states intend to introduce similar measures in their own legislatures.
Iowa has begun to produce so much wind energy that a quarrel has broken out over who will get to sell the surplus. MidAmerican Energy of Des Moines, Iowa's largest wind energy provider with 1,300 megawatts of wind capacity, has asked Iowa regulators to approve more than 1,000 megawatts of wind generation to be built at yet-undisclosed locations in the state. But MidAmerican's largest rival in Iowa wind energy, NextEra Energy Resources of Jupiter, Fla., has objected in a filing with the Iowa Utilities Board.
The presence of prairie winds and rich soil makes Iowa literally fertile ground for developing alternative energy sources from wind turbines and biofuels. But the landscape is also a reminder that achieving energy independence is a formidable challenge and making an agricultural economy green is not easy. ...Phil Wyse, a state representative for 22 years, believes Iowa and America need nuclear power. "We need sources of power that are constant and don't rely on things like whether the wind's blowing or the sun's shining," he says.
Wind energy is part of the solution, too, and we're investing in it. But since the wind doesn't blow 24/7, it can't be counted on by itself to reliably meet demand. ...On the federal level, much fact finding, discussion and a significant commitment to research and development are needed to ensure a balanced solution that addresses concerns about global climate change. Some say we have only one chance to get this right, and if that's true, we need to make informed decisions, not emotional choices.
The Iowa General Assembly is considering a broad range of legislation related to energy issues, including bills concerning renewable energy and energy efficiency. We urge policymakers to be cautious and truly consider the ramifications of proposals that sound good at the Capitol but would have adverse impacts on local communities. The renewable energy standard mandates and energy efficiency standard mandates being considered by Legislators currently have the potential to result in rate increases at a time when wholesale power costs are increasing. Affordability needs to be considered as debate takes place on energy related issues.
State regulators have granted a waiver to a Houston firm allowing construction of a $600 million wind farm in Howard and Mitchell counties. Construction is scheduled to begin this year on Horizon Wind Energy's Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm. The developing will consist of 182 turbines spread over 60 square miles near the Minnesota border. ...Regulators noted in granting the waiver that the two lines only exceeded the 25-megawatt threshold by 1.4 megawatts each, and that Iowa's economic development policies encourage renewable generation. Reducing the regulatory burden is one way to advance that public interest, the ruling said.
CEDAR RAPIDS - Officials will soon consider plans to build two coal-fired power plants that critics argue would offset some of Iowa's efforts to cut air emissions and reduce global warming. A proposed 750-megawatt plant, led by LS Power Group, would be built on farmland near Waterloo. Alliant Energy has filed an application with the Iowa Utilities Board to build a 630-megawatt unit in Marshalltown......... Developers of new coal-fired plants in Iowa say coal has been the best choice because it allows them to make electricity at the reasonable and predictable costs their customers want. Soaring prices have made natural gas undesirable. In addition, wind energy is not viewed as an option because wind speeds are seasonal and unpredictable.
Developers of new coal-fired plants in Iowa say coal was the best choice because it allows them to make electricity at the reasonable and predictable costs their customers want. Soaring prices have made natural gas, the fuel of choice for the last two decades, undesirable. Wind energy is not viewed as an option for the kind of ``always-on'' demand that coal plants serve, because wind speeds are seasonal and unpredictable.
"By itself, it cannot be the solution because wind by its nature is an intermittent source of power," said Bill Haman, industrial program manager and alternate energy revolving loan program manager for the Iowa Energy Center. "Therefore we as a society cannot rely on wind as our primary energy source, but it certainly can play a part as a piece of the solution when combined with both fossil and renewable sources."
Gov. Chet Culver on March 29 outlined one of his key legislative proposals - the Iowa Power Fund. At stops in Cedar Rapids and Ankeny, the governor presented his vision for the future of renewable energy in Iowa, and laid out specific proposals to keep Iowa ahead in the race to become the renewable energy capital of the world. "Today, Iowa begins taking the lead in the race to become the energy capital of the world," said Culver. "Our $100 million Iowa Power Fund will allow Iowa to invest in and attract cutting edge research and development. "It will allow our state to be involved in commercialization of emerging technologies. It will allow existing companies to expand and grow to meet the needs of emerging markets. It will help us create the jobs of the future that will keep your kids and my kids here in Iowa where they belong. This effort is at the heart of the 21st Century Iowa Expedition I have called on all Iowans to join."
Iowa Gov.-elect Chet Culver is hoping to make his campaign pledge to pump $100 million into the state’s growing renewable energy industry a reality when lawmakers convene next month. Culver said the state has never had a better opportunity to develop the renewable energy and create new jobs than right now. He’s pitching the idea of the Iowa Power Fund and has said he would appoint a director of renewable energy with a cabinet-level office. He said renewable energy is the issue that all of Iowa, both rural and urban areas, can rally around.
It's time for a truce. In reality, nuclear and wind are not competitive, but complementary. And beyond that, large amounts of both are essential, if we hope to continue meeting our power needs while cutting back on the fossil-fuel emissions that are heating up the global environment.
DES MOINES — U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin predicts the upcoming farm bill will put a greater emphasis on renewable energy, biomass production and conservation and less on subsidy payments to farmers. With Democrats capturing the majority in the U.S. Senate this week, Iowa’s junior senator could take over once again as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee as a new farm bill is being drafted. Harkin, D-Cumming, shepherded the last farm bill as chairman of the agriculture committee in 2002. Although he said it is not a foregone conclusion he’ll assume chairmanship of the committee once again, he already has ideas of how he wants to shape the legislation. “We have to make changes,” Harkin said. “The times have changed; conditions have changed, a lot of things have changed.”
Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack challenged regulators and utility companies in his state a few years ago to produce 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2010. The push, known as a renewable portfolio standard and other incentives, has helped develop Iowa into a national wind energy leader. With 135 giant wind turbines towering in the rural landscape of Wright and Hamilton counties and several other wind farms in north-central Iowa, the state has become the nation’s third-leading wind-energy producer behind Texas and California.