New research details Iowa path to 100% clean energy from wind, water, solar

solarThe Council’s energy program is focused on helping Iowa transition away from polluting sources of energy toward clean sources like wind and solar as quickly as possible. Doing this work, we often receive questions about just how much Iowa can rely on renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

This is actually a question that generates considerable debate among energy sector researchers. We have often referred people to a 2012 National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report that showed how America could receive 80% of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2050.

That study was important because it suggested renewable energy could provide reliable electricity at all hours of the day through all the seasons of the year with technology that is commercially available today.

But now, a Stanford University research team has gone even further, suggesting a pathway by which Iowa—and all 50 states—could receive 100% of our energy needs from just three sources: wind, water, and solar. Along with a new infographic summarizing the results, the team has begun to make its findings available through a nonprofit called The Solutions Project.


[Click here to see the whole infographic.]

Read more after the jump…

The Stanford University team’s work emphasizes how important it is to use energy efficiently as part of transitioning to clean energy. It also tries to quantify just what benefits Iowa would receive from using 100% clean energy:

  • Creation of approximately 100,000 new jobs.
  • Avoiding 510 deaths related to air pollution and $4.7 billion in health care costs due to pollution each year.
  • Lower electricity rates and energy cost savings for Iowans compared to continuing business as usual.

While much work remains on Iowa’s path to clean energy, by looking at visionary studies like these, we can get an idea of what goals to set. The Council’s energy program is very active in supporting a clean energy solution for Iowa. We advocate for strong utility energy efficiency programs, and we work so Iowa can improve its electric grid and expand its successful wind industry. We support adding wind and solar installations Iowans can own ourselves.

Iowans already know that clean energy creates jobs and economic opportunities, helps us save on our energy bills, and provides our state cleaner air and water. Now, it is increasingly clear that today’s clean energy technologies can serve as reliable electric sources for all or nearly all of our state’s energy needs. We have an opportunity to rapidly transition to these energy sources, with your support.


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