Last week was disappointing for Iowa environmentalists in several ways, which I’ll discuss in future posts. Thankfully, I opened the Des Moines Register today to find an editorial opposing plans to build a new coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown:
Five years ago, when MidAmerican started construction at Council Bluffs, a Register editorial made just one reference to global warming and declared that Iowa “is on the right course by encouraging development of modern, cleaner-burning coal plants while pursuing renewable fuels and rewarding consumers who use less energy.” The newspaper also praised Alliant’s plans for new generating capacity.
Today, the editorial board has concluded that building a coal-fired plant in Marshalltown is not now the right course for Iowa. The right course would place far greater emphasis on energy efficiency and renewable sources of generation, particularly wind. For power plants, it would encourage a harder look at natural gas, which emits much less carbon dioxide, and would specify that any new “cleaner-burning coal plants” must be able, at least on the near horizon, to capture and sequester carbon dioxide.
For background on strengthening energy efficiency and finding alternatives to coal in Iowa, check out this page on the Iowa Environmental Council’s website.
On the right side of the screen you can click on a pdf file, which is a position paper specifically about coal-fired power plants.
For much more information about coal, including the costs of coal and the impacts of coal-fired generation of electricity, the Union of Concerned Scientists website has comprehensive information.