(Editor’s Note: The Iowa Environmental Council released the following Aug. 3. The coming debate will be about whether or not, and how, Iowa complies with the new rules. The press release outlines what they are).
Clean Power Plan presents opportunity for Iowa
Carbon pollution cuts will benefit Iowa economy, communities and working lands
DES MOINES – Monday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the finalization of the Clean Power Plan, a landmark standard that sets the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants. By establishing state-specific carbon pollution reduction goals based on each state’s energy portfolio, the Clean Power Plan will cut 32 percent of carbon pollution from U.S. power plants by 2030 (from 2005 levels).
The final Clean Power Plan calls for Iowa to reduce its carbon pollution rate to 1,283 lbs/MWh by 2030, a slight increase from the originally proposed 1,301 lbs/MWh. Both goals are based on reductions from 2012 carbon pollution levels. However, the baseline or starting point for those calculations has changed. Therefore, while the final Clean Power Plan calls for Iowa to cut carbon pollution from its power plants by 41 percent, this cannot be directly compared to the originally proposed 16 percent reduction.
As a national wind energy leader, Iowa is well-equipped to meet this modest goal, and could have achieved a significantly stronger goal. The final Clean Power Plan presents significant opportunities for Iowa’s wind sector to help reduce emissions in other states.
The Iowa Environmental Council issued the following statement in response to the announcement of the final standard:
“We applaud the EPA and Administrator McCarthy’s leadership in finalizing the Clean Power Plan. The plan will improve Iowa’s economy, protect our communities, safeguard our working lands and strengthen our energy independence. However, Iowa’s carbon reduction goal remains one of the lowest in the country. While achievable, this modest reduction goal doesn’t begin to realize Iowa’s full clean energy potential. As a national leader in wind energy generation and manufacturing, Iowa is already on track to achieve and surpass a its carbon reduction goal. Though the Council would have liked to see a stronger goal, we look forward to working with the state’s leaders over the next year to shape a strong implementation plan that maximizes Iowa’s potential for renewable energy growth and energy efficiency savings.”
Energy Program Director Nathaniel Baer was among leading clean energy advocates invited to join President Obama at the White House for a media event earlier this afternoon announcing the finalization of the plan.
Wind energy accounts for 28.5 percent of Iowa’s electrical generation – the highest of any state. Recent studies show that Iowa’s wind energy potential is over 570,000 MW and 20,000 MW of this could be developed by 2030. By increasing the regional and national demand for clean energy, the Clean Power Plan will expand opportunities for wind as well as solar energy development, strengthening Iowa’s economy and job market.
In addition to improving Iowa’s economy, the Clean Power Plan benefits the state’s communities, cultural heritage and environment. Power plants are our nation’s largest source of carbon pollution, which threatens public health, agriculture and Iowan’s quality of life. By cutting carbon pollution and encouraging a transition to clean energy, the Clean Power Plan will make Iowa a safer, healthier and more attractive place to live and work.