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Iowa Energy Assessment and Planning For A Cleaner Future

By: Paritosh Kasotia, CEO of Unfolding Energy

Executive Summary 

Iowa has established itself as a leader in energy conservation and clean energy over the last three
decades. Iowa is widely recognized for its wind and biofuels production and its exemplary
utility-led energy efficiency programs. This report explores how Iowa can continue on its path to
energy independence and also lead in addressing the global crisis of our time — climate change.
Iowa demonstrated its climate leadership in 2007 when the Iowa Legislature adopted the SF 485
which established the Iowa Climate Change Advisory Council (ICCAC) and directed it to
establish a system for reporting and monitoring greenhouse gas emissions and develop scenarios
for reductions by 2050.

While the ICCAC was discontinued in the recent past, Iowans have made clear their preferences
for energy choices. In a statewide voter survey conducted by a bipartisan research team, it was
found that Iowans overwhelming support energy efficiency and clean energy choices.i Moreover,
clean energy markets have significant job impacts. According to Advanced Energy Economy
(AEE), Iowa currently boasts 22,000+ clean energy jobs. AEE’s survey also projects a 6% job
growth in 2015.

Apart from the economic case for expanding Iowa’s clean energy sector, the climate change
argument is increasingly more urgent requiring immediate attention. Natural disasters events
and the resulting economic losses as a result of climate change are well documented. According
to Iowa Climate Change Impacts Committee Report to the Governor and the Iowa General
Assembly, Iowa is already experiencing the negative effects of climate change.ii

The economy is also witnessing a new phenomenon where the economic growth is visibly
decoupling from energy consumption. Traditionally, the US economy, energy consumption and
the resulting greenhouse gas emissions have shown direct and upward relationship. However,
data now suggests that this relationship is disconnecting — partly due to energy efficiency and
addition of renewable energy in the energy mix. The US Department of Energy data shows that
the energy consumption is decelerating which is in contrast to a growing economy and a growing

As Iowa develops its statewide energy plan, the state of Iowa must include low-cost and easy to
implement measures that will help Iowa achieve energy independence, create jobs, and strengthen local economies. Some of these recommendations detailed in the full report are:

  • Strengthen renewable portfolio standard with carve outs for solar and CHP
  • Strengthen current policy framework to promote clean energy technologies
  • Promote energy efficiency and conservation programs
  • Strengthen building codes and compliance
  • Establish clean energy investment fund
  • Create a statewide public education program on energy

By adopting these measures and other sound polciies and programs, Iowa can lead the nation and
help create a clean energy economy.

Read full report – PDF