Your voice is needed to build Iowa’s leadership in renewable energy

solar

If you own or plan to own a renewable energy installation, your voice is especially important now.

Update [2/24]:  Due to continued problems with its electronic filing system, the Iowa Utilities Board has extended the public comment period by one day.  The board released a statement on the topic that read, in part:  “Because of a recent fire in another state government building, the Board’s electronic filing system (EFS) has experienced some unscheduled down time. Therefore, the Board will extend the deadline for filing responses to February 26, 2014.”

Last month, the Iowa Utilities Board announced a “Notice of Inquiry” to gather information on distributed generation of renewable energy in Iowa.  The notice of inquiry allows the Board to gather information, and evidence suggests some participants want to use this opportunity to dismantle or block important policies supporting distributed wind and solar energy in Iowa.

Iowa’s policy regarding distributed generation affects the state’s ability to lead in renewable energy and to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. For Iowans who have installed wind turbines or solar panels, or want to in the future, these policies govern your relationship with your electric utility and how you are compensated for energy you produce.

This inquiry is your opportunity to tell the Iowa Utilities Board you want take advantage of the substantial and largely untapped potential for solar and wind growth in our state.  You can help build Iowa’s national leadership in renewable energy by submitting your comment to the Board today.

Find out how to submit a comment after the jump.

Iowans are proud of our state’s national leadership in wind energy.  While announcements like MidAmerican energy’s decision to install a new gigawatt of wind energy are important, Iowa has begun to make progress with farmers, businesses, and communities installing distributed wind themselves. With falling prices for solar panels and ample sunlight available, Iowans are increasingly interested in solar energy.  Our state is ready for a new chapter in renewable energy leadership.

In context, Iowa’s progress on wind and solar energy represents only a tiny fraction of what is ultimately possible. With more and more Iowans expressing an interest in distributed generation for their homes and businesses, Iowa policymakers should help facilitate the development of distributed generation and not create unnecessary barriers.

Recently, the Iowa Utilities Board accepted Alliant Energy’s decision to suspend its popular renewable energy incentive program, just as interest in the program was picking up.  Actions like this slow Iowa’s progress on renewable energy.  In other states, policies for net metering have recently come under attack.  In light of this, it is especially important to speak up if you feel Iowa’s policies for distributed generation should be maintained and strengthened.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Comments are due to the Iowa Utilities Board by Tuesday, February 25, and you must file your comments online by 5:00 p.m. that day.  To submit comments:

  • Visit https://efs.iowa.gov/efs/LoginShow.do?toCreateFiling=true
  • Click “submit filing as a guest”
  • Enter “NOI-2014-0001” and press enter.  The words “Distributed Generation” should appear next to “Docket Title.”
  • Complete the rest of the form with your contact information.
  • Select “upload documents” and follow the instructions to upload a word document or .pdf.

Need help submitting comments?  E-mail the Council at iecmail@iaenvironment.org.

Points to include

More detailed talking points on this topic are available from the Iowa Environmental Council.  E-mail iecmail@iaenvironment.org for more information.  Here are a few main ideas you could include in your comments:

  1. Iowa is a national leader in renewable wind energy.  Wind energy projects provide an economic benefit throughout the economy from lease payments to farmers to manufacturing jobs for turbine blades and other components.  Supportive public policies including one of the first Renewable Portfolio Standards in the country helped Iowa achieve this progress.
  2. Both distributed wind energy and distributed solar energy have tremendous growth potential in Iowa.  Iowa’s solar energy potential ranks 16th nationally and interest in solar installations is increasing rapidly.  We are harnessing only a tiny fraction of our available wind and solar resources.
  3. Investment in energy generation by farmers, businesses, and others who install solar panels and wind turbines benefits the public at large by reducing the need for costly new power plant construction.  Distributed electric generation can also help the electric grid function more reliably and efficiently.
  4. Iowa policymakers play an important role in ensuring Iowa does not miss out on benefits of distributed wind and solar, including jobs and economic opportunities and cleaner air and water.

If you own or plan to own a renewable energy installation, be sure to describe that installation in your comments.

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