Wind power puts Iowa ahead in carbon emissions cuts

Source: By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Monday, September 29, 2014

Iowa’s adoption of wind energy is putting it ahead of other states in meeting carbon reduction goals proposed by U.S. EPA.

The state gets the highest percentage of its electricity from wind power in the country. Iowa’s adoption of the alternative energy source means it would only have to cut its carbon emissions by 16 percent by 2030 under EPA’s proposed rule. By comparison, the average national carbon emission cuts are 30 percent.

Iowa’s recent wind generation projects include a nearly $2 billion investment by MidAmerican Energy Co.

Backlash from states against EPA’s proposed emissions cuts has been less than expected, according to Karl Brooks, EPA’s Region 7 administrator.

“Certainly, there were critics of the agency’s plan to work with states to reduce carbon emissions from fossil-fueled power plants,” Brooks said. “But primarily the response that’s come from states and the utility sector and the electric distributors and customers is: ‘Let’s take a look at this proposal. Let’s work with the EPA to make it better.'”

The rule still has critics within Iowa. The office of Gov. Terry Branstad (R) called the rule “ill-advised,” saying that it would threaten jobs in the state and lead to hikes in costs to consumers.

Brooks said that doing nothing to curb carbon emissions would cost the country hundreds of billions of dollars from damage from climate-change-driven floods, hurricanes, wildfires and droughts (Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register, Sept. 24)