Iowa Energy Plan Unveiled

Dec. 26, 2007
Iowa released an energy plan in mid December 2007, calling for California-style emission standards for new cars sold in the state, massive cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions, new renewable-energy and energy-efficiency requirements for utilities, a bigger push for renewable fuels, and a labeling system for energy-efficient buildings.

The Iowa Office of Energy Independence was created to recommend ways Iowa could become energy independent by 2025. Currently, 95 percent of the state's power comes from outside sources. This figure has change little in the past 25 years. Iowa's wind power has grown, but in a climate with relatively low requirements for renewable power. The state has no vehicle emission standards at this point, but the regulations to come could potentially raise the price of cars.

Iowa's new energy plan calls for greenhouse-gas emissions reductions just as Iowa regulators consider approval of new coal-burning power plants in Marshalltown and Waterloo. Iowa Governor Chet Culver and energy director Roya Stanley have declined to take positions regarding these projects, but have said that coal use is unavoidable at this point in time.

Among the recommendations to the Iowa Legislature are these policies:
  • Join 16 states that have adopted or are considering adopting the California emission standards for passenger vehicles.
  • Set standards to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
  • Encourage Iowa production of cost-effective, renewably generated electricity.
  • Accelerate the infrastructure development and use of renewable fuels for all transportation in Iowa.
  • Direct power companies to increase energy-efficiency efforts, with increased education.
  • Order the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to consider a facility's greenhouse-gas emissions when considering whether to approve air permits.
  • Mandatory energy audits and energy-efficiency projects at all state-owned buildings, and new energy standards for new buildings.
  • Encouragement of telecommuting, ride shares, and use of public transit by state employees.
  • Plan improvements to power lines, pipelines, railroads, trails, and roads needed to promote energy independence.
  • Set numeric goals for cost-effective energy-efficiency measures.
  • Require utilities to provide more renewable energy, and provide incentives.
  • Develop and enforce energy codes for new and old buildings, and provide incentives for projects that exceed the minimum requirements.
  • Adopt a new labeling system for residential, commercial, and industrial complexes that promotes energy-efficiency achievements.

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