Iowans, utility companies conserving less energy after 2018 law


Via Flickr.

Eleanor Hildebrandt | July 9, 2021

Iowans are conserving less energy following the passing of a 2018 law that changed the state’s efficiency requirements.

Senate File 2311 capped spending on utility-sponsored energy efficiency programs in Iowa. The law was passed in the last few days of the 2018 Iowa legislative session with the support of most Republicans in the state House and Senate. The caps were below the amount utilities were already spending on programs. In 2018, the Iowa Environmental Council lobbied against the legislation, saying utility companies were the only winners, as businesses and citizens would “pay the price of this action.” 22 states have energy efficiency resource standards that serve as a target for citizens to meet.

In 2020, two years after the law’s passing, Iowa’s total kilowatt hour savings were more than 300 million lower than in 2018 according to the Energy News Network. The drop is more than 50 percent of the energy savings in Iowa’s recent history. A yearly state energy efficiency scorecard from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy dropped Iowa to 36 out of the 50 states. Iowa is beat by some of its midwestern counterparts—like Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois—but still placed higher than the Dakotas, and Nebraska. Iowa held 24th place in 2018. 

Iowa legislature considers bill to encourage efficiency in rental units


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Older rental properties are often prone to inefficiencies leading to wasted resources and high utility costs (via Creative Commons).

Julia Poska | February 25, 2020

A bill proposed this month in the Iowa House of Representatives would increase transparency around energy efficiency and utility costs in rental units.

The bill, HSB 635, states that landlords of properties containing at least 12 units would need to disclose average utility costs in writing to prospective tenants, prior to issuing a lease.

Properties with low rent are often older and may have structural issues–like leaky windows or dripping pipes— which can lead to wasted resources and higher utility bills for tenants.  The Iowa Environmental Council is encouraging support of the bill, saying it would create incentives for more efficient rental properties.

 

Utility executives say US lacks proper energy policy


Photo by nicenecktie, Flickr

A poll of 700 United States utility executives held some surprising support for renewable energy advocates, saying that the US lacks a competitive edge in the arena.

ThinkProgress.org reports:

American utilities, long known for being slow to adopt new technologies, are expressing concerns that the U.S. is falling behind in development of renewable energy. A new survey of 700 utility leaders released by Black and Veatch finds that 67% of respondents believe the country “is at risk of losing its domestic design and construction skills, equipment manufacturing capabilities and global competitive position in utility technology.”

“The lack of a comprehensive and coherent energy policy has encouraged the industry to remain fragmented and stagnant. Having no policy actually is policy. As leaders, we must collaborate to move the industry forward,” said Roger Smith, president of Black and Veatch’s management consulting business. Continue reading