Already a national leader in renewable wind energy, Iowa also has the potential to be a leader in solar photovoltaic (PV) energy production, according to a new report by the Iowa Environmental Council. The amount of solar energy Iowa could reasonably produce ranks 16th in the nation, and improvements in solar technology along with years of falling prices are helping build momentum in the budding industry.
“Customers are excited about solar energy, and it is showing up in many diverse settings—at farms, business, universities, utilities, and at homes around the state,” said Nathaniel Baer, energy program director at the Iowa Environmental Council. “As interest in solar energy grows, we wanted to share an overview of the role this energy source can play in the mix of energy options Iowa has.”
The Council’s report, Real Potential, Ready Today: Solar Energy in Iowa, explains how in addition to providing useful energy, solar PV offers many other benefits: job creation, consumer savings, cleaner air and water, innovation and technology investment, and improved stability in the electric grid.
Download your copy of the Council’s new report now at iaenvironment.org/solar.
Ralph Rosenberg is the executive director of the Iowa Environmental Council.
By Ralph Rosenberg, the Council’s executive director
One of the common tactics those who oppose protection of clean water and a healthy environment use is to downplay, deny, and distance themselves from whether problems we face exist at all.
For example, the resurgence of climate denial in the news during recent bitterly cold weather is a reminder to all of us to be vigilant for misinformation that is designed to hold back solutions we need for clean air, clean water, and our state’s future. As the legislative session begins again, we must remember that denial can have consequences for public policy and our state’s future.
The Iowa Environmental Council’s energy program focuses on speeding Iowa’s transition to cleaner sources of energy and away from polluting coal. Recently, the Council shared information about how Iowa remains a national leader in wind energy and that the state’s solar energy marketplace is growing.
But Iowa is also making progress retiring coal-fired generation. In fact, a recent announcement by Alliant energy that it will convert its M.L. Kapp station in Clinton to burn natural gas means that Iowa utilities have announced over one gigawatt of coal retirement in the last year. These announcements include three Iowa plants involved in a settlement over Clean Air Act violations the Sierra Club reached with MidAmerican Energy last year.
The following table includes announcements for coal plants in Iowa during the past year that will either close or convert to natural gas:
||Campus coal station
||Iowa State University
||George Neal North 1 & 2
||Walter Scott 1 & 2
||Ames Electric Services Power Plant
||City of Ames
|Total in approximately 12 months:
||1190 MW (about 1.2 GW)
Posted in Energy
Update 1/10/14: Today the Iowa Department of Revenue confirmed that 2013 tax credit applications have reached the $1.5 million annual cap.
The Iowa Department of Revenue recently announced that it awarded $1.3 million in solar tax credits during 2013, more than double the amount awarded in 2012, and more tax credit applications remain to be processed. The increase in solar tax credits is a sign of strength in Iowa’s solar marketplace. It may also indicate a rush to complete solar installation before the suspension of a popular utility incentive program.
The legislature approved Iowa’s solar tax credit in 2012, and credits are available for solar energy installations completed beginning in January of that year. The credit can reduce the income tax liability for individual Iowans up to $3,000 and for businesses up to $15,000. Information about how to claim the credit is available from the Department of Revenue.
Posted in Energy
For over a decade, the Iowa Environmental Council has offered Iowans a free, easy-to-use method for contacting elected officials and decision-makers about important environmental issues. In 2014, the Council will be transitioning to a new action alert service, allowing us to provide you a better experience.
When important public comment opportunities or legislative debates take place, the Council sends an e-mail to our supporters with background information and a suggested message to send to decision-makers. By using the service, you can personalize your unique message and send it within minutes, adding your voice of support for clean water, clean energy and a healthy Iowa environment.
During 2014, these enhancements will be made available to all our supporters:
- The user interface for sending your message will be completely re-designed to be much easier to use. Alerts to federal and state officials will work the same way and take less time to submit.
- After you have taken action, asking your friends to take action through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other services will be easier than ever, bringing you new opportunities to spread the word about important environmental issues.
- You can use the service to identify your elected officials, their legislative committee assignments, and find their contact information.
You can explore a preview of the new action alert interface right now by visiting iaenvironment.org/actnow.php. To receive the Council’s action alerts by e-mail, sign up at iaenvironment.org/signup.php.