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


Via: University of Iowa

Elyse Gabor | October 3, 2022

On Tuesday, October 11th, Iowa Law is hosting a discussion surrounding the Hubbell Environmental Law Initiative (HELI). The event will feature panel discussions with policy experts, researchers, industry members, public employees, and nonprofit organization representatives. The panels will discuss solar policies around Iowa. Following the guest speakers, the audience will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A. Breakfast and lunch will be included at the event. Attendance is both in person and virtual and open to all ages. If interested, register at: https://uiowa.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2lU6iMrnn17eLu6  

For more information, visit: https://events.uiowa.edu/73266 

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


Via: University of Iowa

Elyse Gabor | September 11, 2022

On Tuesday, October 11th, Iowa Law is hosting a discussion surrounding the Hubbell Environmental Law Initiative (HELI). The event will feature panel discussions with policy experts, researchers, industry members, public employees, and nonprofit organization representatives. The panels will discuss solar policies around Iowa. Following the guest speakers, the audience will have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A. Breakfast and lunch will be included at the event. Attendance is both in person and virtual and open to all ages. If interested, register at: https://uiowa.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_2lU6iMrnn17eLu6  

For more information, visit: https://events.uiowa.edu/73266 

Permit Process Continues for Carbon Pipeline in Iowa


Via Flickr

Josie Taylor | August 17, 22

State regulators are expected to hold a scheduling conference that will guide the rest of the permit process for Summit Carbon Solutions, which will build about 680 miles of liquid carbon pipeline in Iowa. The pipeline would connect to ethanol plants, where captured carbon dioxide would be compressed into a liquid and transported to North Dakota to be pumped deep into the ground.

An Iowa Utilities Board attorney said during a Tuesday board meeting that a proposed order is coming in the future. The meeting will allow the company, affected landowners and others to discuss deadlines for testimony and interventions. Potential dates for the permit hearing and when the company will finalize its requests for eminent domain will also be discussed. 

Since early last week, Summit has been submitting its lists of landowners who have declined to grant easements for the project, whose land might be subject to eminent domain. As of Monday, the list included dozens of parcels in 11 counties, including Cherokee, Chickasaw, Crawford, Fremont, Greene, Hancock, Ida, Lyon, Plymouth, Pottawattamie and Sioux. 

Summit said it obtained permission from landowners for about 40% of the pipeline route in Iowa. Summit’s project is one of three carbon pipeline proposals in Iowa, although it is the only company so far to officially file for a permit. Navigator CO2 Ventures is set to hold another round of public meetings starting next week in counties where its route has changed. Wolf Carbon Solutions has meetings set late this month in five eastern Iowa counties.

Iowa May See Blackouts Summer 2022


Via Flickr

Josie Taylor | June 2, 2022

Iowans and other Midwestern residents could experience energy blackouts this summer if extreme heat and spiking demand coincide with insufficient power.

This warning was made by North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC), a Georgia-based regulatory authority, and it prompted state regulators to question utilities on how they would handle controlled outages. Iowa and 14 other states are at high risk of “energy emergencies during peak summer conditions,” NERC said.

Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) told utilities whose power grid it serves, including the majority of those in Iowa, that it expects summer demand to increase 1.7% over last summer. 

Iowa utility leaders told state regulators they anticipate having enough energy to meet consumer demand for electricity. If MISO calls for reducing energy use, they have plans in place to comply.

While the greatest risk of summer outages is in the Midwest, most of the western U.S. will be at moderate risk, NERC said. That forecast includes Southwest Power Pool, another grid operator that includes part of western Iowa.

Officials save Lake Powell as Drought threatens production of hydroelectric power


West USA - Lake Powell
Via Flickr

Elyse Gabor | May 10, 2022

The artificial reservoir, Lake Powell, seeks help from U.S. officials to boost water levels. A prolonged drought has dried up water levels, threatening hydroelectric power production for the Western states. 

The Bureau of Reclamation is releasing 500,000 acre-feet of water. The water is coming from Flaming Gorge Reservoir. An acre-foot equals 3260,000 gallons of water and is enough to supply two houses with water for a year. 

This is the first time unprecedented measures have been taken to boost water levels. Tanya Trujillo, the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for water and science, said, “We have never taken this step before in the Colorado River Basin, but the conditions we see today and the potential risk we see on the horizon demand that we take prompt action.” 

As the second-largest reservoir in the U.S., Lake Powell was damned in the 1960s. If the lake were to dry up 23 more feet, the megawatt plant wouldn’t be able to supply millions of people in the western U.S. states with electricity.

In the past two decades, this has been the driest period ever recorded. The drought is believed to be caused by climate change. 

Ethanol Bill Passes in the Iowa House and Senate


Via Flickr

Josie Taylor | April 28, 2022

Legislation that would require most Iowa gas stations to sell higher ethanol blends passed both the Iowa House and Senate on Tuesday. 

The bill, House File 2128, received bipartisan support in both chambers, passing 42-3 in the Senate and 78-13 in the House. It is expected that Gov. Kim Reynolds will sign it into law. Reynolds told reporters Tuesday morning that the bill would “sustain and grow” the ethanol industry while helping consumers. 

The bill requires most Iowa gas stations to begin offering 15% ethanol blended fuel (E15) in 2026. The final version of the proposal includes a waiver for Iowa’s smallest gas stations, and state grants to help upgrade infrastructure to support E15. As fueling stations expand and install new tanks, those have to be E15-compatible.

Some Senate Democrats raised concerns about the legislation, arguing it would be a “mandate” and may clash with federal law. 

President Joe Biden visited Iowa earlier this month to announce the temporary summertime sale of E15. Under federal law, E15 may not normally be sold from June to September due to pollution concerns. Reynolds said Iowa was pushing to change the federal law, especially as more gas stations will sell the higher blend.

Biden Opens Oil Reserves to Relieve Gas Prices, Complicating Clean Energy Goals


Via Flickr

Josie Taylor | November 24, 2021

President Joe Biden on Tuesday authorized the release of 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is complicating his administration’s goal to transition to cleaner energy sources.

Biden said he coordinated the release from the reserve, a complex of four sites along the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coasts, with leaders in Japan, South Korea, India and the United Kingdom, which would also release their own reserves.

He clarified that this would not affect gas prices over night. 

The president said the release from the reserve was intended to relieve high prices in the short term, but a strategy to transition to other fuel sources would be more effective in the long term.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm echoed the president to reporters at a press briefing following Biden’s remarks. She said the administration was aiming to provide short-term relief from oil prices that are at a seven-year high.

She said the White House hoped to see domestic oil producers return to their pre-pandemic levels, even as Biden has made climate action a central part of his agenda, which would mean more reliance on clean energy rather than oil. 

The Iowa Environmental Council is Holding a Clean Energy Talk


Via Iowa Environmental Council

Josie Taylor | November 16, 2021

On Thursday, November 18, the Iowa Environmental Council will hold a two-hour Bright Ideas 2021 event to discuss sources of clean energy in Iowa, like solar and wind power. 

The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Des Moines but has satellite, group-viewing options in Iowa City and Waterloo. Attendees also have the option to watch a livestream that doesn’t allow participation. 

The featured speaker is Destenie Nock, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. She plans to address energy equity. 

The in-person locations include a brunch. The cost to attend ranges from $25 for online viewing to $65 for the Des Moines location. Students and young professionals will get discounts.More information is available here.

Alliant Energy has Plans for Iowa’s Largest Solar Power Project


Via Flickr

Josie Taylor | November 4, 2021

Alliant Energy says it will invest $750 million in 400 megawatts of solar power generation and 75 megawatts of battery storage in eastern Iowa, making it the state’s largest solar project to date.

They will file a plan on Tuesday with the Iowa Utilities Board stating its plan for a 200-megawatt installation, part of which would be on the grounds of the Duane Arnold nuclear power plant. The plant in Palo, northwest of Cedar Rapids, is being decommissioned.

Alliant has committed to building 400-megawatts, which would be the state’s largest solar project, said Morgan Hawk, an Alliant spokesman. Once it’s complete, about half of Alliant’s energy would come from renewable sources, which already include 1,300 megawatts of wind energy, Kouba told the Register.

Iowa utilities are investing heavily in renewable energy. The state got nearly 60% of its energy from wind last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

MidAmerican Energy, Iowa’s other large investor-owned utility, has invested mostly in wind, which provides about 80% of its power generation. The Des Moines-based company said this year it’s also investing in about 140 megawatts of solar generation.