The Iowa Environmental Council Strives for 100% Renewable Energy in Iowa by 2050


Photo by Bill Devlin, Flickr

Nicole Welle | April 23rd, 2020

The Iowa Environmental Council released Tuesday a report called “Iowa’s Road to 100% Renewable“. The report lays out the steps necessary for Iowa to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050, a goal that many other states across the U.S. have already set for themselves in recent years.

The IEC concluded that, by 2050, Iowa will need to generate 30,000 to 61,000 MW of wind and 5,000 to 46,000 MW of solar energy to fully transition to renewable sources. The state currently generates 10,000 MW of wind and 110 MW of solar energy.

That sets a wide range, but the IEC analysis incorporated 12 studies on renewable energy growth with a variety of unknown variables. Electrification of fossil fuel sectors, like transportation, may increase exponentially by 2050, resulting in a higher demand for electricity. This, along with the current rate of general increase in electric demand, could alter the amount of renewable energy Iowa requires. The report also considers studies that incorporate the possible use of nuclear power and carbon capture and storage as additional renewable energy options.

Iowa is currently one of the country’s leading producers of wind energy. According to an article posted by T&DWorld, Iowa generated 41.9% of its electricity using wind in 2019. However, continued growth of wind energy necessary for the plan’s success will require increasing support from Iowa’s government and residents.

Some support has waned in recent years. Renewable energy tax credits have reached their capacity, according to The Iowa Utilities Board, and some Iowans have become wary of the number of wind turbines dotting the countryside across the state. Public concern over the land and resources required to expand wind energy production is a hurdle that must be faced before the goals outlined in “Iowa’s Road to 100% Renewable” can be reached.

On the Radio: At Green Plains ethanol plant, Shenandoah seeks an algae-powered Iowa


Photo: City of Shenandoah.

This week’s radio segment highlights some innovative research going on in the tiny city of Shenandoah – attempts to use algae for fuel.

But the experiment is just one of many of the town’s cutting-edge green efforts. The city has also installed more energy-efficient lighting in its downtown, and it received the first ever permit to construct and operate an air curtain incinerator that cleanly burns yard waste.   Continue reading

Report: Wind Industry has broad reach in Iowa economy


A new report from the Environmental Law and Policy Center, a Chicago-based environmental advocacy organization, shows just how much the wind industry impacts Iowa’s economy. It reaches more than 80 local business and provides 2,300 manufacturing jobs, which likely leads the nation, the report states.

With over 25,000 wind turbines at 80 sites, about 20% of the power Iowa generates comes from wind. Continue reading