Tag Archives: renewable energy

Barb Andersen joins Council as Clean Energy Organizer

Clean Energy Organizer Barbara Andersen

Barbara Andersen

The Iowa Environmental Council is pleased to announce that Barbara Andersen has joined its staff as a clean energy organizer.

Andersen will work alongside Energy Program Director Nathaniel Baer and Climate and Energy Policy Specialist Cindy Lane to advance policies and programs that encourage and facilitate clean energy growth and development, with a focus on mobilizing Iowans to advocate for clean energy leading up to the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.

“I’m excited to be here and look forward to working with volunteers and organizations to pose questions about clean energy to presidential candidates leading up to the Feb. 1 2016 Iowa Caucuses,” Andersen said. “The point of planning and coordination is to create action that brings about change, and I know that Iowans are up to the task.”

Andersen, a Waterloo, Iowa native, comes to the Council from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, where she was an instructor in the Department of Urban Planning. Prior to teaching at Ball State University, Andersen served as the public transportation policy and planning manager for the Downtown Community Alliance, where she focused on growing the use of alternative modes of transportation in greater central Iowa.

Andersen is passionate about advocating for clean energy and energy efficiency, recognizing the far-reaching effects. This anonymous poem hangs in her home:

Turn off the lights
In the silence of your darkened home
You can hear a wild river whispering its thanks

She holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Idaho, a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and a Bachelor’s in Landscape Architecture from Iowa State University.

“Barbara academic background, coupled with her experience working on a diverse set of issues related to sustainability make her the perfect fit for this position,” said Energy Program Director Nathaniel Baer. “Iowans have a unique opportunity to shape the national clean energy conversation leading up to the election, and Barbara’s work with our supporters and allies to elevate this issue leading up to the caucuses will help ensure a strong clean energy future.”

Barbara can be contacted at andersen@iaenvironment.org.

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Recent reports agree: Clean Power Plan would protect public health

Several recently-released, independently-conducted reports concur that reducing carbon pollution would improve public health.

Today, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released its annual “Sneezing and Wheezing” report detailing the negative respiratory health impacts of increased ozone and pollen concentrations that are expected to worsen if carbon pollution levels continue to rise.

According to the report, carbon pollution has been linked to increased ragweed pollen levels and contributes to conditions which increase ground-level ozone.  Both ozone and ragweed pollen exacerbate allergies and asthma, serious and costly health issues that affect approximately 50 million and 26 million Americans. Ragweed pollen allergies alone are estimated to contribute to more than 3.8 million missed work and school days per year.

To protect public health, the report recommends adopting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan. Expected to be finalized this summer, the Clean Power Plan would establish the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from U.S. power plants (the nation’s largest source of carbon pollution).

Recommendations to adopt a strong Clean Power Plan were also echoed by the American Lung Association (ALA) last month in its annual “State of the Air” report.  The ALA report details progress in improving our nation’s air quality by examining ozone and particle pollution levels across the U.S.  Reducing carbon pollution under the Clean Power Plan would also simultaneously reduce levels of these other harmful pollutants.

The result would be a significant public health benefit, according to researchers at Harvard, Boston and Syracuse Universities.  In a peer-reviewed paper released last week, the researchers found that additional reductions in sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter resulting from carbon standards like the Clean Power Plan would help prevent 3,500 premature deaths; 1,000 hospitalizations; and 220 heart attacks per year in the U.S. and avoid 47 premature deaths in Iowa alone.

EPA has estimated that American families will see up to $7 in health benefits for every dollar invested in the Clean Power Plan and, in total, the agency estimates the plan will result in $55 to $93 billion in health and climate benefits.

>> Sneezing and Wheezing Report, NRDC
>> State of the Air, American Lung Association

New report outlines potential for Iowa wind energy to reduce carbon emissions

Iowa has long been a national leader in wind energy, and there are new opportunities to continue to be an industry trailblazer.

Today, the Iowa Wind Energy Association (IWEA) released a new report, “Iowa’s Wind Potential for Addressing 111(d) Goals: The Potential for Tapping Iowa’s Wind Resource to Reduce CO2 Emissions,” that analyzes Iowa’s current wind energy production and forecasts the state’s ability to use wind energy to achieve carbon pollution reductions under the proposed Clean Power Plan.

By establishing state-specific carbon reduction goals, the proposed Clean Power Plan would cut 30 percent of the 2005 carbon levels from the country’s existing power plants by 2030. Iowa’s proposed goal is a 16 percent carbon reduction from 2012 levels.

The IWEA report, co-authored by wind industry experts Dan Turner, Ph.D. and Thomas A. Wind, P.E., found that Iowa is not only well-positioned to use renewable wind energy to meet Iowa’s carbon reduction goal under the proposed Clean Power Plan, but Iowa’s leadership in the renewable wind industry also leaves the state well-positioned to help other states meet reduction goals in a way that benefits our economy.

3_InfographicAccording to the report, by 2016, Iowa will already be more than half way (52 percent) to meeting its 16 percent reduction goal with wind alone given the 1,212 MW being installed by 2016. Iowa would only have to install a modest amount (an estimated 1,100 MW) of additional wind energy and take no other actions to meet the goal by 2030.

Iowa could even achieve a more stringent carbon reduction goal by 2030 through increased wind energy development. Building another 3,100 MW of wind would allow Iowa to meet a 30 percent carbon reduction target, almost twice the target proposed by EPA. This is certainly achievable for Iowa, given that between 2008 and 2015, Iowa will have added 635 MW/year of wind energy capacity, far more than the 210 MW/year that would need to be built by 2030 to meet a 30 percent carbon reduction.

4_InfographicThe report also examines how the Clean Power Plan presents an opportunity for Iowa’s wind energy industry to help other Midwest states meet carbon reduction goals. For example, if Iowa built 7,500 MW of wind by 2030 (an average of 500 MW/year), the entire reduction target of Wisconsin or Missouri could be met. Or, if other Midwest states build wind within their borders to comply with carbon reduction goals, Iowa manufacturers and wind-related businesses could help meet demand for turbines, components and services.

The report also notes the economic benefits of wind energy. The state’s wind energy industry currently employs more than 6,000 Iowans, and landowners receive more than $16 million annually in lease payments. By the end of 2015, total capital investment in wind development will be more than $10 billion, and the total increased assessed value of property for wind turbines in Iowa through 2013 is estimated to be $2.6 billion. Wind energy is also more resistant to changes in cost than other energy alternatives.

With the support of policies and programs that encourage wind energy growth, Iowa will continue on its current track to not only achieve but exceed its proposed carbon reduction goal with wind alone, positioning Iowa to help other states achieve their goals in a way that benefits Iowa’s economy and job market.

Read an executive summary of the report
Read the full report