Iowa is now the 11th most energy-efficient state

Photo by Will Merydith

Iowa moved up from the 12th most energy efficient state to 11th over this past year. These rankings come from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Six criteria are used to rank the states: transportation, government initiative, spending and policies by utilities and government to encourage efficiency, building codes, combined heat and power systems and efficiency standards for appliances.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that Iowa’s commitment to energy efficient utilities propelled the state to their high ranking:

[The report’s principle author Michael] Sciortino said Iowa’s move from 12th to 11th is noteworthy for staying ahead of the general progress by all the states in such energy efficiency concepts as giving incentives to weatherproof homes, setting standards for appliances, encouraging combined heat-and-power systems, setting statewide energy-saving goals and supporting new “green” technologies.

Iowa scored high in utilities encouraging energy savings, Sciortino said. “Their utilities are very committed to energy efficiency, and they also have support from the (state) regulatory commission to really go ahead and do these types of things.”

EPA imposes new limits on power plants

Photo by Bill.Roehl, Flickr

The Environmental Protection Agency is set to impose new regulations on many nationwide power plants. These plants were picked because their generated air pollution affects other states downwind. Iowa is among the 27 states containing power plants subject to the new EPA limits. Omaha World-Herald reports that the increased regulations specifically target coal plants:

Critics called it another step by the Obama administration to crack down on coal-fired power plants. The regulation is one of several expected from the EPA that would target pollution from the nation’s 594 coal-fired power plants, which provide nearly half of the country’s electricity — but also a significant share of its pollution.

While the EPA said the regulations will not cause the power to go out, almost everyone agrees that it will help close down some of the oldest, and dirtiest, coal-fired facilities. At the remaining plants, operators would have to use existing pollution controls more frequently, use lower-sulfur coal, or install additional equipment. Continue reading