Utility-scale solar development needs mandate

Photo by the Iowa Energy Center
Photo by the Iowa Energy Center

Iowa and other Midwestern states are unlikely to see large utilities invest in solar energy without setting the standards that require it, Jonathon Weisgall said.

Weisgall is the vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, the parent company of MidAmerican Energy. MidAmerican is the largest energy company in Iowa.

Berkshire Hathaway recently started a $2.5 billion solar project in California, but the state’s regulatory environment supports that cost.

A few Iowa utilities are building solar capacity without solar mandates, but setting standards will help drive development, Nathaniel Baer, energy program director of the Iowa Environmental Council said.

Currently, wind energy provides 40 percent of MidAmerican’s energy.

Baer said wind energy is a great example of setting a goal and seeing what follows.

To read the full story, head to the Des Moines Register.