# Energy Efficiency

Unfolding Energy Release Iowa Energy Assessment and Planning For A Cleaner Future Report

Paritosh Kasotia is the founder and CEO of Unfolding Energy and was named to the Midwest Energy News list of “40 under 40” last year. She led the Iowa Energy Office until late 2014. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Unfolding Energy, a not-for-profit organization released its Iowa Energy Assessment and Planning for a Cleaner Future Report. The report is intended for the State of Iowa, elected officials, Iowans, and potential political candidates as a resource to guide the Iowa Energy Office’s planning process as they work towards creating a statewide energy plan.

The report provides an overview of Iowa’s energy production and consumption patterns and dives into Iowa’s current regulatory and policy framework in the context of climate change, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and building codes. Other sections of the report examines the potential for various clean energy sources and concludes the report with recommendations that the State of Iowa should implement.

Excerpt from the report below

Continue Reading...

Dubuque still leads on sustainability

Last year Bleeding Heartland discussed some promising changes in Dubuque, thanks to the vision of community leaders who launched the SustainableDubuque initiative in 2006. Now called the “Dubuque 2.0” sustainability initiative, the program has helped bring the city a long list of recognitions and awards.

Government and public entities: The U.S. Conference of Mayors named Dubuque the country’s “Most Livable Small City” for 2008. The Economic Development Administration (an agency within the federal Commerce Department) gave the an award for “excellence in historic preservation-led strategies” in 2009. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development selected Dubuque for sustainability pilot programs, also in 2009. The Iowa League of Cities named Dubuque an All-Star Community this year.

Business groups and business-oriented media: Dubuque landed on Sperling’s Best Places top ten “Most Affordable Places to Live and Work” in 2009; was third best in the country for job growth, according to Careerbuilder.com in 2010; and was the seventh best city under 200,000 population in “Economic Growth Potential,” according to Business Facilities magazine in 2010. Dubuque also won an Excellence in Economic Development award this year from the International Economic Development Council, while Forbes.com named it both the “Best Small City to Raise a Family” and “Best Smaller Metro for Projected Job Growth” nationwide.

Non-profit organizations: Dubuque came in third place at the International Awards for Livable Communities in 2010 in the category of cities with populations between 20,000 and 75,000. The city won the 1000 Friends of Iowa 2010 Best Development Award in the leadership category for its recently adopted Unified Development Code, which “promotes best practices in sustainable development and will serve as a model for other cities in Iowa.” (Side note: Dubuque also contains more private Best Development Award winning-projects than any other Iowa city. Most recently, the “beauty and authenticity” of the Hotel Julien historic rehabilitation earned it the 1000 Friends of Iowa 2010 Best Development Award in the renovated and commercial/civic category.)

Too many Iowa politicians portray eco-friendly policies as bad for business or economic growth. Dubuque is proving that sustainability makes a community more attractive to potential job-creators:

According to Mike Blouin, president of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, the cachet that comes with operating a business in a sustainable region is becoming increasingly important.

“A growing segment of companies — manufacturers and service providers — want to be a part of this trend,” he said. “They want to be a part of communities that are into sustainability, and they believe it will be easier to attract the kind of workforce they want there. Or companies may manufacture items used in these sustainable communities. Whatever it might be, they want sustainability to be a part of their message.”

He added, “You can be pro-economic development and be sustainable. They’re not mutually exclusive. A smarter city is not the initial thing companies look at, because they still have to make money. The community has to make sense overall, but if it does, sustainability could very well be a deal-maker. If there are a half-dozen cities in front of a company, it may look at smarter sustainability and see that it fits the company’s philosophy. Final decisions are made by those kinds of factors.”

In 2009, the IBM corporation renovated the historic Roshek building in partnership with the city of Dubuque and selected the city for sustainability pilot programs. After the jump I’ve posted more details on some projects implemented this year. These benefit the city by finding ways to reduce costs and use of resources, and benefit IBM by promoting technologies it hopes to sell to other cities.

Continue Reading...

Appliance Rebate Fiasco

(Someone had better fix this problem quickly. - promoted by desmoinesdem)

I thought that the appliance rebate was going to make some good headlines for Gov. Culver.  But it looks like it is going down as a fiasco.  The program was supposed to start at 8:00AM today, but by 8:10, the website was already down.  

It only had the message: "The service is unavailable."  

 The phone lines are also jammed.  Most of the time I don't even get a busy signal, it just leaves me hanging, listening to static.  Has anyone else tried to get a rebate yet?

UPDATE from desmoinesdem: The $2.8 million in stimulus money for these rebates in Iowa was exhausted in one day. Representative Bruce Braley has urged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “to include funding for clean energy appliance rebate programs in any jobs legislation considered by the House.”

Stimulus bill anniversary thread

It’s been a year since President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (better known as the stimulus bill) into law. I didn’t like the early concessions Obama made to Republicans in a fruitless effort to win their support for the stimulus. I was even more upset with later compromises made to appease Senate conservadems and Republican moderates. They reduced spending in several areas that had real stimulative value (school construction funds, extra money for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, aid to state governments) in order to include tax cuts that have much less stimulus “bang for the buck.” Senator Tom Harkin was right to question why 9 percent of the stimulus bill’s cost went toward fixing the alternative minimum tax, for instance.

Still, I supported passage of the stimulus bill. In late 2008 and early 2009 the U.S. economy was losing 600,000 to 700,000 jobs per month. Something had to be done. On balance, the stimulus did much more good than bad. Economists agree it has saved or created a lot of jobs:

Just look at the outside evaluations of the stimulus. Perhaps the best-known economic research firms are IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s Economy.com. They all estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.

Two and a half million jobs isn’t enough to compensate for the 8 million jobs lost since this recession began, but it’s a start.

Not only did the stimulus create jobs, it greatly increased spending on programs that will have collateral benefits. Incentives to make homes more energy efficient will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save consumers money that they can spend elsewhere. Money for sewer improvements will provide lasting gains in water quality (inadequate sewers and septic systems are a huge problem in Iowa). The stimulus included $8 billion for high-speed rail. It wasn’t nearly enough, of course; we could have spent ten or twenty times that amount on improving our rail networks. But that $8 billion pot drew $102 billion in grant applications from 40 states and Washington, DC. The massive demand for high-speed rail stimulus funding increases the chance that Congress will allocate more funds for rail transportation in the future.

Unfortunately, most Americans don’t believe the stimulus bill created jobs. That’s largely because unemployment remains at a historically high level of 10 percent nationwide. Also, inflation-adjusted average weekly earnings have gone down during the past year. In addition, Republicans have stayed on message about the worthlessness of the stimulus bill, even though scores of them have hailed stimulus spending in their own states and districts.

Democrats on the House Labor and Education Committee released an ad that lists various popular stimulus bill provisions, such as increasing Pell Grants and teacher pay. The ad uses the tag line, “There’s an act for that,” naming the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at the end. I don’t think it’s effective, because the ad doesn’t include the word “stimulus.” Few people will realize that the ARRA refers to the stimulus bill.

Bleeding Heartland readers, how do you view the stimulus one year later?

Continue Reading...

Weekend open thread and events coming up during the next ten days

This thread is for anything on your mind this weekend. After the jump I’ve posted details about lots of upcoming events in early February.

If you want to watch Senator Chuck Grassley do the “Friday Happy Dance” on WHO-TV, head on over to Dave Price’s blog.

The Polk County Democrats need more submissions of original recipes for the “Liberally Seasoned” cookbook they are compiling. By February 6, send polkdems AT gmail.com a word document including your full name and precinct, a paragraph about the dish, and a picture of the dish or yourself if possible. Categories: salads, appetizers, main dishes, vegetarian, desserts and drinks. They plan to have the cookbook ready by the Polk County Convention on March 12. For questions, call 515-285-1800.

DAWN’s List, which works to elect Democratic pro-choice women in Iowa, is seeking nominations for awards that will be given in five categories. Details are below, and nominations are due by the end of the day on February 1.

Continue Reading...

Year in review: Iowa politics in 2009 (part 2)

Following up on my review of news from the first half of last year, I’ve posted links to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of Iowa politics from July through December 2009 after the jump.

Hot topics on this blog during the second half of the year included the governor’s race, the special election in Iowa House district 90, candidates announcing plans to run for the state legislature next year, the growing number of Republicans ready to challenge Representative Leonard Boswell, state budget constraints, and a scandal involving the tax credit for film-making.

Continue Reading...

Year in review: Iowa politics in 2009 (part 1)

I expected 2009 to be a relatively quiet year in Iowa politics, but was I ever wrong.

The governor’s race heated up, state revenues melted down, key bills lived and died during the legislative session, and the Iowa Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Varnum v Brien became one of this state’s major events of the decade.

After the jump I’ve posted links to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of Iowa politics from January through June 2009. Any comments about the year that passed are welcome in this thread.

Although I wrote a lot of posts last year, there were many important stories I didn’t manage to cover. I recommend reading Iowa Independent’s compilation of “Iowa’s most overlooked and under reported stories of 2009,” as well as that blog’s review of “stories that will continue to impact Iowa in 2010.”

Continue Reading...

Events coming up during the next two weeks

Last month was so busy that I didn’t manage to post any event calendars here, but I am back on duty now. The highlight of this month for Democrats is the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Saturday, November 21, featuring Vice President Joe Biden. You can buy tickets online.

Please note that November 10 is the deadline for public comments to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources about protecting our Outstanding Iowa Waters. The Farm Bureau is mobilizing public comments against these regulations. The DNR needs to hear from Iowans committed to preserving our highest-quality waterways. Click here for background and an easy to use comment form.

State Senator Staci Appel will officially announce her re-election campaign on November 12, and I’ve posted details about a fundraiser for her campaign below the fold. Appel’s Republican opponent, State Representative Kent Sorenson, is already gearing up for next year’s election. He spent the weekend in Texas attending the WallBuilders ProFamily Legislators Conference. Here’s some background on David Barton’s vision for America, chock full of Biblical interpretations supporting right-wing public policies. Barton spoke to the Iowa Christian Alliance not long ago (click that link to watch videos). Former presidential candidate Ron Paul is headlining a fundraiser for Sorenson on November 14, by the way.

Many more event details are after the jump. As always, please post a comment about anything I’ve left out, or send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com).

Continue Reading...

A Big Breakthrough on Green Jobs

The New York State Senate and Assembly, too often a model of corruption and dysfunctionality, rose above petty politics last week to pass forward-thinking legislation on climate and energy, setting a precedent for bipartisanship and a sensible cap and trade system.  The State Senate passed the groundbreaking Green Job/Green New York Act, with strong support from Republicans, Democrats, and the Working Families Party, which spearheaded the legislation. The bill — expected to be signed into law this week by Gov. David Patterson leverages $112m in revenue from the Northeasts's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) into $5 billion of private investment to finance home weatherization, energy efficiency projects, and green jobs creation.

Continue Reading...

Cash for Clunkers ends, cash for appliances coming soon

The $3 billion “Cash for Clunkers” program officially ends today, having helped generate at least 625,000 new car sales. Representative Bruce Braley, a key advocate of the program, is holding an event this morning in Bettendorf with John McEleney, Chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association, and Gary Thomas, President of the Iowa Automobile Dealers Association.

Meanwhile, Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced that $300 million in stimulus money will go toward cash incentives for consumers to buy energy-efficient home appliances:

Beginning late this fall, the program authorizes rebates of $50 to $200 for purchases of high-efficiency household appliances. The money is part of the broader economic stimulus bill passed earlier this year. Program details will vary by state, and the Energy Dept. has set a deadline of Oct. 15 for states to file formal applications. The Energy Dept. expects the bulk of the $300 million to be awarded by the end of November. (Unlike the clunkers auto program, consumers won’t have to trade in their old appliances.)

“These rebates will help families make the transition to more efficient appliances, making purchases that will directly stimulate the economy,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement announcing the plan. Only appliances covered by the Energy Star seal will qualify. In 2008, about 55% of newly produced major household appliances met those standards, which are set by the Energy Dept. and Environmental Protection Agency.

Replacing old appliances can significantly reduce a household’s energy use and utility bills, so this seems like a good use of stimulus money. However, some analysts are skeptical that the new program will be as successful as “Cash for Clunkers”:

“The cash-for-clunkers (program) had a discernible value proposition for the consumer, because he knows how much his (clunker) is worth,” says [Sam] Darkatsh, the Raymond James analyst. “With appliances, there is no trade-in. You can walk into Home Depot and get a great deal on a home appliance any time you want one. Why would it drum up sales now?” Laura Champine, an analyst with Cowen & Co., agrees. “I’m not sure if it will be as powerful as cash for clunkers because there is something compelling about that $4,500 discount,” she says. “Also, a new car is more fun than a new dishwasher. So I’m not sure if it will be as much of a driver, but any driver is welcome right now.”

Share any relevant thoughts in this thread.

Continue Reading...

Rants misses the point of the Power Fund

State Representative Chris Rants promised to run his gubernatorial campaign on “Diet Coke and Casey’s pizza and ethanol,” but attacks on Governor Chet Culver are the real fuel for his political ambitions. He’s been bashing Culver’s economic policies all summer. His latest target is the Power Fund, which Rants would ax to help balance the state budget.

Culver and his office have repeatedly cited a study by the Green Jobs Initiative Committee, which estimated that Iowa has more than 8,700 “green jobs,” a substantial increase in the past few years. Culver has credited the Power Fund with helping create thousands of jobs, while Rants says Culver is misleading Iowans because fewer than 100 jobs can be directly attributed to Power Fund grants.

If I were Culver, I would seize the chance to debate renewable energy with Republicans.  

Continue Reading...

Iowa Republicans more like "Party of Hoover" than party of future

The Republican Party of Iowa is celebrating its “rising stars” tonight at an event featuring Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. Judging by what we’ve heard lately from Iowa GOP leaders, they’re gonna party like it’s 1929.

Case in point: Iowa Senate Minority leader Paul McKinley. The possible gubernatorial candidate’s weekly memos continue to whine about spending and borrowing by Democrats (see also here). Republicans would rather slash government programs and provide “targeted” one-year tax credits.

The lessons of Herbert Hoover’s presidency are still lost on these people. I apologize for repeating myself, but excessive government spending cuts can turn an economic recession into a depression. Since state governments cannot run budget deficits, it makes sense for the federal government to help the states “backfill” their budgets. That was the express purpose of the state transfer funds in the stimulus package.

In addition, it is prudent to spend federal funds on projects with long-term benefits. Energy Secretary Steven Chu was in Des Moines on June 23 to highlight the first installment of what will be $41 million in stimulus funds for renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects in Iowa. Energy efficiency programs in particular will have huge collateral benefits, saving consumers money while helping the environment.

No matter how many times Republicans repeat their misleading talking points about the I-JOBS state bonding initiative Democrats passed this year, it is prudent to borrow money for worthwhile projects when interest rates are low. I don’t hear McKinley or other Republican leaders telling businesses not to borrow money to make capital improvements.

Share any thoughts about Republican ideas, rhetoric, or career lobbyist Haley Barbour in this thread.

Iowa Residents, Businesses Can Save $690 Million Through Greater Energy Efficiency

(Sounds like a win-win-win-win to me. - promoted by desmoinesdem)


CONTACT:Peter Gray 312-795-3715                                                          

Iowa Contact: Andrew Snow 515-244-3931

March 18, 2009

Study Finds Iowa Residents, Businesses Can Save $690 Million Through Greater Energy Efficiency

Environmental Law and Policy Center Joins Partnership in National Coalition Advocating for Federal Energy Efficiency Standard

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  Iowa residents and businesses could save over $690 million on their utility bills if utility companies cut demand for electricity by 15 percent and natural gas by 10 percent by 2020, according to a new report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The new national and state-by-state analysis of energy efficiency benefits was made public as more than 60 business leaders, industry groups and environmental advocates, including The Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) launched the Campaign for an Energy-Efficient America, a coalition calling on Congress to enact a national target for energy efficiency (www.energyefficiencyworks.org).

“Making homes and businesses more energy-efficient will create jobs, save Iowa residents money on their utility bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the bottom line for Iowa businesses,” said ELPC Policy Advocate Andrew Snow. “That’s why we’re proud to join business and environmental groups in urging Congress to enact a federal energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) that will help us achieve these crucial goals.”

The ACEEE report found that in addition to generating utility bill savings, passage of a federal EERS could create 1,000 jobs in construction, manufacturing, and other fields in Iowa and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change by 2.9 million metric tons. The measure would also eliminate the need to build more power plants in Iowa and prevent environmental risks associated with traditional power generation.

A national EERS would set a target for gas and electric utilities to meet, but allow states flexibility on how to achieve the targets through rebates and financial incentives for energy efficiency home improvements, use of energy-efficient lighting and appliances, combined heating/cooling systems and other measures.  Nineteen states have established a state EERS.

The Campaign for an Energy-Efficient America supports a national EERS that would require utilities to reduce electricity usage by 15 and natural gas usage by 10 percent by 2020. This proposal for a federal EERS is included in House and Senate versions of the Save American Energy Act (H.R. 889 and S. 548), introduced by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA-7) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), respectively.  

ACEEE’s economic analysis reveals that by 2020, the proposed federal EERS could save American consumers $168.6 billion, create 222,000 jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 262 million metric tons – the equivalent of removing 48 million cars from the road – and eliminate the need to build 390 power plants. Laying the Foundation for Implementing a Federal Energy Efficiency Resource Standard is available at www.aceee.org/pubs/e091.htm.


The Environmental Law and Policy Center is the Midwest’s leading environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization. www.elpc.org

Campaign for an Energy-Efficient America is a coalition of more than 60 leading businesses, industry groups and environmental organizations advocating for a national energy efficiency resource standard (EERS) to help the nation maximize energy efficiency – the fastest, cheapest, cleanest way to meet our growing energy needs while creating jobs, saving consumers money, boosting American competitiveness and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For more information, visit our Web site at www.EnergyEfficiencyWorks.org.

Continue Reading...

Iowa Must Seize Chances to Grow Green Economy

(A timely commentary, since Barack Obama has just named Van Jones (author of The Green Collar Economy) to be a special adviser on green jobs, enterprise and innovation. - promoted by desmoinesdem)


Iowa is well-positioned to be a leader in the rapidly growing green economy. That requires savvy policy and business-development actions to continue seizing strategic opportunities for progress.

 What's at stake: Iowa's competitiveness and the jobs of the future as the global economy transitions to cleaner technologies for global-warming solutions.

Energy, environmental, employment, economic and national-security goals are converging. President Barack Obama and Congress are moving toward realigning our nation to accelerate clean-energy development to create new jobs and achieve significant greenhouse-gas pollution reductions. Clean-energy development is a win-win-win for job creatin, economic growth and better environmental quality. Three major opportunies:

Energy efficiency

Making our homes, businesses and public buildings more energy efficient is a no-brainer. We really can't afford costly energy waste in today's economy, when household budgets and businesses' bottom lines are strained. Retrofitting buildings with more efficient lighting, heating and cooling, windows and other equipment will create new, good-paying electrical, plumbing, carpentry and construction jobs.

Energy efficiency reduces utility bills, thus helping both businesses' bottom lines and household budgets. It plugs the billion-dollar energy drain that is leaking Iowa's money to states that produce natural gas and coal. Energy efficiency is the best, fastest, cleanest and cheapest way to meet power needs and avoid global-warming pollution.

Iowa's energy-efficiency winners include Pella Windows, Musco Lighting, Cenergy, providing energy design and consulting, and skilled union trade workers performing energy-efficiency upgrades in commercial and public buildings. A new farm bill program championed by Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin provides grants for energy-efficiency improvements for farms and rural small businesses. The economic-stimulus legislation provides $20 billion more nationally for energy efficiency.

Wind power

Wind is the nation's fastest-growing energy resource. Iowa has nearly 3,000 megawatts installed. Six major manufacturing plants employing more than 1,000 people are operating or planned. Iowa manufacturers specializing in steel fabrication, castings and gears fit well into the wind-industry supply chain.

Huge wind-turbine blades and towers are increasingly being made near the installation sites in the Midwest to ease transportation and logistics. States with supportive policies are gaining business. Iowa is well-positioned to benefit from the national renewable-energy standard being considered by Congress.

New passenger rail

The economic-stimulus legislation includes $9.3 billion for high-speed rail and improved Amtrak service. The Midwest high-speed rail network would connect 11 major cities within a 400-mile radius of Chicago and the mid-sized cities in between.

Gov. Chet Culver and Congressman Leonard Boswell are calling for new Des Moines-Iowa City-Chicago rail service. These new trains can improve transportation mobility, pull together the regional economy, create jobs and help the environment by reducing pollution. The Greater Des Moines Partnership, labor unions and the Environmental Law & Policy Center are working together to get new rail service going.

Solving global-warming problems is our generation's moral, business, policy, political and technological challenge. The global economy is transforming with the rapidly growing trillion-dollar clean-energy technology sector. Lots of jobs and money are at stake. Iowa should seize the strategic opportunities and use its competitive advantages to help lead the growing green economy of the future.

HOWARD A. LEARNER is the executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center

About the Environmental Law and Policy Center and Iowa Global Warming Campaign:
ELPC is the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental, legal advocacy and eco-business
innovation organization. We are environmental entrepreneurs who engage in creative business deal
making with diverse interests to put into practice our belief that environmental progress
and economic development can be achieved together.

Background on new Iowa Utilities Board Chairman Rob Berntsen

Governor Chet Culver made two appointments to the Iowa Utilities Board this week. He named Rob Berntsen as the IUB’s new chairman, replacing John Norris. Norris stepped down from the IUB in order to serve as chief of staff for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Culver also reappointed Krista Tanner as one of the IUB’s three members. Culver appointed her in 2007 to serve out the remainder of someone else’s IUB term, which expires at the end of April. Now she will serve out the remainder of Norris’s term, which ends in April 2011.

The governor named Berntsen for the full six-year term that begins on May 1 and expires in 2015. (The third IUB member, Darrell Hanson was appointed by Culver in 2007 for a term that expires in 2013.)

Join me after the jump for more background on the new IUB chairman, along with some speculation about what can we expect from the board.  

Continue Reading...

Action: Contact Iowa legislators on energy efficiency bills

Improving energy efficiency is the fastest way to meet our baseload needs for electricity while saving consumers and businesses money and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Stepping up our efforts on energy efficiency should be a no-brainer, but some utilities feel otherwise and aren’t shy about letting state legislators know.

I received this action alert from Plains Justice today:

Iowa clean energy advocates, your help is urgently needed. Two good pieces of legislation that would lower your energy bills and decrease our reliance on dirty energy are stalled in the statehouse. Unless legislators hear from you now, this money-saving legislation will die before the full House and Senate can vote on it.

House Study Bill 150 and Senate Study Bill 1191 would save you money by requiring Iowa electric and natural gas utilities to invest in strong energy efficiency programs, the cheapest and cleanest way to meet our energy needs. According to current filings before the Iowa Utilities Board, energy efficiency costs only 3 cents per kilowatt hour, while new coal generation can cost more than three times as much. Some current studies put the cost of power from new nuclear plants at 25 to 30 cents per kilowatt hour.

Energy efficiency is common sense, but some utility companies don’t want to bother. They can put more of your hard-earned dollars in their pockets if they build new coal plants and new nuclear plants instead.  Call these legislators today and ask them to move the bills forward!

Senator Mike Gronstal (SSB 1191)    mike.gronstal@legis.state.ia.us           (515) 281-4610

Rep. Pat Murphy (HSB 150)              Pat.Murphy@legis.state.ia.us             (563) 582-5922

Governor Chet Culver                        (515) 281-5211 (Please ask the Governor to tell the committee members to move the bills forward.)

Senator Jerry Behn (SSB 1191)          jerry.behn@legis.state.ia.us                (515) 432-7327

Senator Tom Hancock (SSB 1191)     tom.hancock@legis.state.ia.us            (563) 876-3219

Senator Tom Rielly (SSB 1191)         tom.rielly@legis.state.ia.us                 (641) 673-5878

Rep. Nathan Reichert (HSB 150)       Nathan.Reichert@legis.state.ia.us      (515) 281-3221

Rep. Donovan Olson (HSB 150)        Donovan.Olson@legis.state.ia.us       (515) 432-8163

Rep. Chuck Soderberg (HSB 150)     Chuck.Soderberg@legis.state.ia.us    (712) 546-6136

Rep. Nick Wagner (HSB 150)            nick.wagner@legis.state.ia.us             (515) 281-3221

The full text of HSB 150 is available at http://tinyurl.com/Iowa-HSB-150.

The full text of SSB 1191 is available at http://tinyurl.com/Iowa-SSB-1191.

Thank you for helping Iowans save money on our energy bills!

If you live in the districts of any of the above legislators, definitely call. Phone calls are harder to ignore than e-mails. However, many legislators don’t routinely return calls to Iowans who don’t live in their districts. So you might want to e-mail the people on the above list if you are not one of their constituents.

Continue Reading...

Put college rivalries to good use

I saw in the Sunday Des Moines Register that people at Wartburg and Luther colleges in northeast Iowa channeled their competitive energy into something useful:

Pranksters traditionally make 75-mile road trips between Decorah and Waverly to dress campus statues in opposition colors. Now they have been joined by eco-conscious students in a month-long competition to see which school can conserve more energy and lower campus utility bills.

Strategies have included shorter showers, turned-off lights and unplugged cell phone chargers. […]

“If we lose, we have to have a sign that says ‘Wartburg won’ ” displayed publicly for one month, Luther freshman Brian Gerike, 19, of St. Louis said. “I don’t think anyone wants to see that at Luther.” […]

Two state universities in drought-plagued North Carolina saved 11 million gallons of water in a three-month contest last year.

Luther senior and Minnesota native Megan Selvig, 21, said the trick is to inject rivalry into the mix.

She said Luther students will try to win any contest that includes that school to the south.

“Their ears perk up when they hear Wartburg,” Selvig said.

The feeling is mutual.[…]

A winner will determined when February utility bills arrive.

In a final push for victory, Luther dormitory dwellers were planning to hold “blackout parties” Saturday night.

I’ve never been into college rivalries, but think about how much water and energy could be saved if the University of Iowa and Iowa State agreed to an efficiency contest.

With deep budget cuts looming, all college and university presidents should think about ways to get the student body excited about something that will save money. Normally college students have little reason to conserve energy, because they’re not paying the utility bills.

Speaking of saving money, we noticed a big drop in our utility bills after Mr. desmoinesdem turned down the thermostats to between 59 and 62 (in previous winters we’ve kept the house at 64 to 66). It’s still comfortable as long as I wear layers and slippers.

Daily Kos user chapter1 wrote a good diary recently about a new meter that gives people rapid feedback about how much electricity they use at home. This helps people understand which small changes can make a big difference in their consumption, the same way a Prius shows continuously how the way you drive affects the car’s mileage.

This thread is for any suggestions on saving energy or putting human competitive streaks to good use.

UPDATE: The Environmental Law and Policy Center (ELPC) “seeks to hire a dedicated Energy Efficiency Policy and Technical Specialist with 3+ years of professional experience for a full-time position in our Chicago, Columbus, Des Moines or Madison offices.” Click the link for more details.

Continue Reading...

A few good links on saving energy this winter

This weekend the first big snowfall of the season is hitting central Iowa. Most people’s utility bills go way up in the winter because of heating costs and the need to turn on the lights earlier when it starts getting dark before dinnertime. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to reduce your energy consumption, even in the winter.

Bleeding Heartland user Pistachio posted a link to the “Energy Savers Home Page” managed by the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program of the U.S. Department of Energy. There are tons of good ideas on that site, as well as a link to the Energy Savers Blog.

Many non-profit organizations also have web pages with information on saving energy. Here’s one from the Sierra Club. This page on the Iowa Renewable Energy Association’s website has several links under “read more” on the right side of the page.

A couple of weeks ago Daily Kos user chloris creator posted this piece on Energy Conservation Tips for Keeping Warm. Lots of people shared their favorite suggestions in the thread underneath that diary, so I recommend that you read the comments too.

If you’re one of those people who finds it hard to turn the thermostat down during the cold months, wear layers and slippers at home, and get one of those thermostats you can program to turn up the heat an hour before you wake up or just before you get home from work. You will notice a big difference on your utility bills if you keep the thermostat below 65 during the winter.

UPDATE: Thanks to corncam for reminding me that Iowa Interfaith Power and Light also has good resources on energy efficiency on their website.

Energy-efficiency programs are good for the economy

On my weekly calendar of events I mentioned a meeting this Thursday at the state legislature regarding energy efficiency. I received this press release from the Iowa Environmental Council today and have put two especially important passages in bold:

For Immediate Release:

November 10, 2008

Editors Contact:

Lynn Laws, Communications Director, 515-244-1194, ext 210

Iowa Environmental Council

521 East Locust, Suite 220

Des Moines, Iowa

Winter is inevitable. But big energy bills don’t have to be.

Winter is inevitable, but big energy bills don’t have to be. On November 13, that’s what some Iowa clean energy advocates will be telling members of the Iowa Legislature who sit on an interim committee to study utility-run energy efficiency plans and programs funded with consumer dollars. Clean energy advocates will present ideas for ways utility companies can help more Iowans reduce their winter energy bills.

According the Iowa Utilities Board, investor owned utilities in Iowa have issued press releases advising consumers that natural gas prices are expected to be high during the upcoming winter heating season (November-March). The utilities are estimating that consumers will see a 20 to 30 percent increase in their natural gas bills during the 2008/2009 heating season.

David Osterberg, Iowa Policy Project Director, says this added expense will hit low income Iowans’ pocketbooks the hardest. The good news is that this segment of the population could benefit most from utility company energy efficiency programs.

“People may not realize that low-income families, those earning under $20,000, spend 10 percent of their annual income on energy bills. Residents earning over $50,000 only spend 2.4 percent. It is vital to improve and target our energy efficiency programs for low-income Iowans,” said Osterberg.

“Cutting back energy usage through energy efficiency not only results in smaller energy bills for consumers, it’s cheaper than other strategies when it comes to solving global warming,” said Nathaniel Baer, energy program director for the Iowa Environmental Council.

Carrie LaSeur, President of Plains Justice, has also been invited to present to the legislative committee and says utilities should be required to maximize their consumer energy efficiency programs before they are granted approval to build or expand power plants.

“The expense of adding new sources of power – like the proposed coal plant in Marshalltown – is always passed onto the consumer. Utility companies convince community members that building new energy capacity means providing new jobs.  But the truth is that energy efficiency programs create more jobs and save consumers money on their energy bills at the same time,” said LaSeur.

Osterberg, Baer and LaSeur are just a few of the experts invited to provide advice for legislators on …

Thursday, November 13

9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Room 19, State Capitol

*Utility company representatives will be presenting in the morning

*Presentations from the clean energy advocates and others will begin at 1 p.m.

Learn more about what clean energy advocates will be saying to legislators on Thursday…

Call the following individuals for interviews:

Nathaniel Baer, Energy Program Director

Iowa Environmental Council

521 East Locust, Ste 520

Des Moines, IA 50309

515-244-1194, ext 206


Carrie La Seur, President, Plains Justice

100 First Street SW

Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

(319) 362-2120


David Osterberg, Executive Director

Iowa Policy Project

20 E Market St

Iowa City, IA 52245



–          End     –

Aside from the obvious ethical case for targeting energy-efficiency programs to low-income Iowans, think about the potential impact for the economy as a whole. About two-thirds of our GDP depends on consumer spending. If energy-efficiency programs are able to save people money on utility bills, consumers are likely to spend more money on other things. That is especially true for low-income consumers who may otherwise be forced to cut back on essentials to pay for heat and power.

LaSeur’s point is also extremely important. Energy-effiency programs not only create more jobs than building a new power plant, they also save consumers money, which can be spent on other things.

Even if we disregard global warming and all other environmentalist arguments for conserving energy (as opposed to increasing production), there is a strong economic case for moving our public policy in this direction.

Continue Reading...

Events coming up this week

As always, post a comment or send an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) if I’ve left out any important event.

Monday, November 10:

Center on Sustainable Community’s 4th Bi-Annual Building a Sustainable Iowa Professional Training Workshop will be held the week of November 10th through 15th in three locations this year. We are excited to bring Marc Richmond, a national leader in the green building movement, back to Iowa to present this two day course in Cedar Falls, Ankeny and Fairfield. The Cedar Falls course will take place on November 10-11. This course is recognized by the building community as the most comprehensive residential green building training course offered in the state so plan to attend!

For more information visit www.icosc.com or contact Emily at emily@icosc.com or (515) 277-6222.

A Local Food Dinner will be held Monday, Nov. 10, at the University of Northern Iowa Commons Ball Room at 6 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Northern Iowa Food & Farm Partnership at the UNI Center for Energy & Environmental Education. Dr. Preston Maring, MD, will speak on “Sustaining Iowa: Making the connections between food, health and land.”  Pre-registration is required by contacting andrea.geary@uni.edu, 319-273-7883.

The Food, Health and Land Connection: California physician Dr. Preston Maring will be in Iowa to present “Sustaining Iowa: Making the Connection between Food, Health and the Land,” and to share his passion for local food. Maring is Associate Physician-in-Chief at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, where he helped start a weekly farmers market at the hospital. He has his own blog with weekly recipes for fresh produce that gets about 50,000 page views each month. His presentation is scheduled at: Noon, November 10, 140 Schaeffer Hall, University of Iowa, Iowa City; 7:30 p.m., November 10, Commons Ball Room, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls; and 7 p.m., November 11, 2050 Agronomy Hall, Iowa State University, Ames. Following each presentation, local speakers will share Iowa stories about the benefits of local food. They include: Iowa City chef Kurt Michael Friese, author of A Cook’s Journey: Slow Food in the Heartland, and editor for Edible Iowa River Valley magazine; Story County Planning and Zoning director Leanne Harter, about the county’s new Local Foods Systems Initiative.

Tuesday, November 11:

The Residential Green Building Workshop organized by the Center on Sustainable Communities continues in Cedar Falls.

Wednesday, November 12:

The Residential Green Building Workshop organized by the Center on Sustainable Communities begins in Ankeny.

A workshops on Managing Floods of the Future: Concepts, Tools and Success Stories will be held at the UNI Center for Energy & Environmental Education (CEEE) from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Some of the nations’ best minds on ecological floodplain management will make presentations. The workshops are primarily for elected officials, planners, economic development staff and community leaders. To register, e-mail/call Barbara.payton@uni.edu, 319-273-2573.

Thursday, November 13:

The Residential Green Building Workshop organized by the Center on Sustainable Communities continues in Ankeny.

A workshop on Managing Floods of the Future: Concepts, Tools and Success Stories will be held at the Johnson County Fairground/Iowa City from 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Some of the nations’ best minds on ecological floodplain management will make presentations. The workshops are primarily for elected officials, planners, economic development staff and community leaders. To register, e-mail/call Barbara.payton@uni.edu, 319-273-2573.

Wind Rights Legal Forum: The Drake University Agricultural Law Center is sponsoring a half-day Continuing Legal Education workshop for lawyers and other interested officials on legal issues relating to the wind rights agreements being used in Iowa. Speakers will discuss wind agreements from the perspectives of wind developers, landowners, and neighbors. Speakers will also discuss the potential for legislation and local regulation of wind development. The forum will be from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Drake University Legal Clinic located at 24th and University. The fee is $40 and registration information can be found at www.law.drake.edu/cle.  For more information contact Prof. Neil Hamilton at neil.hamilton@drake.edu.

Energy Efficiency Plans and Programs Legislative Study Committee Meeting: Increasing energy efficiency is a great way to save money and help keep Iowa’s air and water clean. On November 13, utility companies, environmental organizations, and state agencies will discuss energy efficiency plans and possibilities for 2009. The discussion is tentatively scheduled to begin at 9:15 a.m. in room 19 of the State Capitol Building, with three Iowa environmental groups presenting from 1:50 p.m. to 2:15 pm. To confirm the schedule, or if you’d like to express your own views at the meeting, call the Iowa Legislative Services Agency: (515) 281-3566. To see the meeting agenda, visit http://www.legis.state.ia.us/l… The State Capitol Building is at East 12th & Grand, Des Moines, IA 50319.

Friday, November 14:

The Residential Green Building Workshop organized by the Center on Sustainable Communities begins in Fairfield.

Annual Fall Tri-State Gathering of Women in Agriculture, November 14-16, YMCA Camp Pepin, Stockholm, WI. Education and networking, potluck, silent auction. Workshops to include felting and eco-preneuring; virtual farm tours. $99 for two nights’ lodging and three meals. Co-sponsored by Women, Food and Agriculture Network. Contact Stacey Brown to register, 515-231-1199,  staceyleighbrown@yahoo.com.

Saturday, November 15:

The Residential Green Building Workshop organized by the Center on Sustainable Communities continues in Fairfield.

Last day for early-bird registration for the fourth annual Natural Living Expo, which will take place in Des Moines on March 28-29, 2009. In my non-blog life, I am helping organize this event, which is free to the public. Businesses or non-profit organizations oriented toward healthy or environmentally-friendly living can contact me (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com) for more information about exhibiting at the expo. There is a significant discount for registering by November 15, but we will still take registrations after that date.

Continue Reading...

Yes, we can meet our baseload needs with clean, renewable energy

I am getting tired of hearing that the U.S. needs to expand our so-called “clean coal” and nuclear power electricity generation in order to meet our baseload needs in the future. Not only does this false choice understate the potential to reduce our electricity consumption through conservation and efficiency measures, it also underestimates how much electricity we could generate through wind and solar power.

Look at what happened in the past year, even as George Bush’s administration did little to promote wind and solar energy:

According to the latest “Monthly Electricity Review” issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (October 3, 2008), net U.S. generation of electricity from renewable energy sources surged by 32 percent in June 2008 compared to June 2007.

Renewable energy (biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) totaled 41,160,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) in June 2008 up from 31,242,000 MWh in June 2007. Renewables accounted for 11.0 percent of net U.S. electricity generation in June 2008 compared to 8.6 percent in June 2007. Compared to June 2007, wind power grew by 81.6 percent in June 2008 while solar and conventional hydropower experienced increases of 42.6 percent and 34.7 percentrespectively. Geothermal energy also enjoyed a slight increase (0.8percent) while biomass (wood + waste) remained relatively unchanged.

Years ago, some people thought it was a pipe dream to ask Congress to require that 10 percent of U.S. electricity be generated from renewable sources by 2010. Yet even in the absence of a congressional mandate, we exceeded that number two years ahead of schedule.

Just think of what could be done if we had a president and Congress committed to expanding wind and solar power in this country.

To learn more about and support the growth of renewable electricity generation in Iowa, get involved in the Iowa Renewable Energy Association.

Continue Reading...

Make utilities do more to save energy

Alliant Energy, which has an Iowa branch called Interstate Power and Light, wants to build a coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown. The utility claims the new plant will be needed to meet energy demand.

However, expert testimony submitted to the Iowa Utilities Board suggests that Alliant/Interstate Power and Light could be doing much more to promote energy efficiency, which is more cost-effective than building new power plants.

Last Friday,

the Iowa Environmental Council, the Sierra Club and the Environmental Law and Policy Center submitted testimony to the Iowa Utilities Board, by expert witness, Geoff Crandall of MSB Energy Associates, detailing ways to improve the Alliant Energy Efficiency plan.

The details are in the full text of the press release from the Iowa Environmental Council, which I have posted after the jump.

The big problem, according to Nathaniel Baer, energy program director for the Iowa Environmental Council, is this: “Alliant significantly underutilizes energy efficiency measures, as the plan proposes to achieve less than half of the cost-effective potential they, themselves identified as available.”

At this blog I’ve focused on environmental and health reasons not to build more coal-fired power plants, but Baer points out that consumers will also pay more for electricity from new sources of generation. Energy-saving measures are more economical.

The expert testimony submitted by the Iowa Environmental Council, the Sierra Club and the Environmental Law and Policy Center complements expert testimony filed with the Iowa Utilities Board the same day by Plains Justice on behalf of several grassroots groups. That testimony concluded that “IPL has exaggerated costs and underestimated potential for its efficiency programs.”

I am grateful to all of the non-profit groups that are making this case to the Iowa Utilities Board.

At the same time, I wish the Iowa Utilities Board had rejected the application to build the Marshalltown plant. If that had happened, these worthy non-profits could be spending their staff time and resources on other environmental and health problems facing Iowans.

Continue Reading...

Push utilities to do more on energy efficiency

Yesterday I linked to this article by Joseph Romm in Salon about how efficiency measures could solve many of our energy problems. His piece starts with the following analogy:

Suppose I paid you for every pound of pollution you generated and punished you for every pound you reduced. You would probably spend most of your time trying to figure out how to generate more pollution. And suppose that if you generated enough pollution, I had to pay you to build a new plant, no matter what the cost, and no matter how much cheaper it might be to not pollute in the first place.

Well, that’s pretty much how we have run the U.S. electric grid for nearly a century. The more electricity a utility sells, the more money it makes. If it’s able to boost electricity demand enough, the utility is allowed to build a new power plant with a guaranteed profit. The only way a typical utility can lose money is if demand drops. So the last thing most utilities want to do is seriously push strategies that save energy, strategies that do not pollute in the first place.

Yet money invested in energy efficiency can generate huge savings in energy costs. According to a report filed with the Iowa Utilities Board by the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives,

In 2007, Iowa’s electric cooperatives, which provide electricity in each of the state’s 99 counties to approximately 650,000 Iowans, invested $11 million in energy-efficiency programs. Participation in the programs by electric cooperative member-consumer-owners in 2007 resulted in approximately $30.3 million in energy savings.

There also was an environmental benefit to the investment in energy-efficiency programs. By reducing demand for electricity, consumers reduced the amount of electricity that utilities would otherwise have generated, which would have placed emissions into the air. The energy savings over the life of the energy-efficiency measures installed in 2007 is equal to enough electricity to provide power for approximately 34,000 homes or a city the size of 85,000 people, which is equivalent to Iowa City and Coralville, combined.

The Salon article describes various state regulations that have helped reduce energy consumption in California.

While I would welcome action on that front by the Iowa legislature, it’s important to note that state regulators can push utilities to do more even without any new laws being passed.

This week three environmental groups (Iowa Environmental Council, the Sierra Club and the Environmental Law and Policy Center) submitted expert testimony to the Iowa Utilities Board regarding problems with MidAmerican Energy’s efficiency plan for the years 2009-2013. This press release from the Iowa Environmental Council provides more details:

Editors Contact: Lynn Laws

Iowa Environmental Council

515-244-1194, ext 210


July 29, 2008


MidAm Energy Efficiency Plan Falls Short

Clean energy advocates call MidAmerican Energy’s new energy efficiency plan a good start, but note missed opportunities.

“At a time when energy prices are sky rocketing and global warming regulation is looming on the horizon, MidAmerican must take all the cost-effective energy efficiency steps available,” said Nathaniel Baer, energy program director for the Iowa Environmental Council.

“The programs they propose simply don’t take advantage of the opportunities that are out there to save money and protect the environment,” Baer added.

Environmental advocates submitted testimony Monday responding to MidAmerican’s Energy Efficiency Plan for 2009-2013.  Under Iowa law, public gas and electric utilities, including MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy, must create comprehensive plans for energy efficiency for all types of customers.  Programs often include rebates or incentives for energy efficient equipment like advanced lighting, heating and air conditioning systems, insulation, energy efficient buildings, and other types of equipment and technology, as well as customer education. The Iowa Utilities Board must approve these plans, with input from stakeholders provided in a formal proceeding before the Board.

The Iowa Environmental Council, the Sierra Club and the Environmental Law and Policy Center submitted testimony by expert witness, Geoff Crandall of MSB Energy Associates, yesterday detailing significant shortcomings in the 2009-2013 MidAmerican Energy plan:

–          The plan understates the potential for energy efficiency improvements, especially in the industrial sector, which consumes 50% of the electricity in MidAmerican’s service territory;

–          The plan fails to include assistance to help consumers generate their own energy using renewable energy systems such as small solar panels (photovoltaic or “PV”), small wind turbines, and solar hot water heaters.

–          The plan does not incorporate enough next-generation lighting technology such as L.E.D. bulbs.

–          The plan fails to provide adequate funding for public education particularly as, it relates to the high energy needs of plasma TVs and home entertainment systems, and about unplugging appliances that use power even when they have been turned off (known as “phantom load.”).

“We can’t do this half way.  The end result of failure is billions of dollars spent on new power plants and thousands of tons of pollution,” said Wally Taylor, an attorney with the Sierra Club.  

“The Utilities Board has to step up and force MidAmerican to do the best job it can here,” he added.

Iowa Utilities Board’s decision is due by the end of 2008. — end —

After the jump you can find contact information for people who can provide copies of this expert testimony.

UPDATE: The Iowa Utilities Board released a statement today urging Iowans to “take steps now to reduce the impacts of increased energy prices this winter heating season”:

Many utilities offer cash rebates for the purchase of energy efficient appliances.  Some Iowa utilities, including MidAmerican Energy Company and Interstate Power and Light Company (Alliant Energy), have increased rebate amounts on energy efficient appliance purchases made by flood-affected customers this year, so inquire with your local utility.

Examples of wise energy-efficiency investments, regardless of utility or even manufacturer rebates, include programmable thermostats, high efficiency heating and/or cooling systems, hot water heaters, replacement windows, additional or replacement insulation, washers or dryers, refrigerators, and stoves.  To assure energy efficiency when purchasing new appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR label.  More information about the ENERGY STAR program for improving energy efficiency is available at www.homeenergysaver.lbl.gov.

A simple, short-term step for conserving energy is to adjust your thermostat for sleeping or periods when your home will be unoccupied.  If constantly changing your thermostat is difficult, consider a programmable thermostat.  Another inexpensive step to help mitigate heating costs is to weatherize around leaky windows and doors and on exterior walls in areas that are usually cold or drafty.  Please contact your local utility for additional energy efficiency information in preparation for this winter.

The full text of this press release is after the jump.

Continue Reading...

Repeat after me: we don't need new coal or nuclear plants

This article by Joseph Romm for Salon explains “Why we never need to build another polluting power plant.”

That’s right, conservation and efficiency measures can help us save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet our energy needs without building any new coal-fired power plants or nuclear reactors.

The whole article is worth reading, but here’s a small excerpt:

America is the Saudi Arabia of energy waste. A 2007 report from the international consulting firm McKinsey and Co. found that improving energy efficiency in buildings, appliances and factories could offset almost all of the projected demand for electricity in 2030 and largely negate the need for new coal-fired power plants. McKinsey estimates that one-third of the U.S. greenhouse gas reductions by 2030 could come from electricity efficiency and be achieved at negative marginal costs. In short, the cost of the efficient equipment would quickly pay for itself in energy savings.

While a few states have energy-efficiency strategies, none matches what California has done. In the past three decades, electricity consumption per capita grew 60 percent in the rest of the nation, while it stayed flat in high-tech, fast-growing California. If all Americans had the same per capita electricity demand as Californians currently do, we would cut electricity consumption 40 percent. If the entire nation had California’s much cleaner electric grid, we would cut total U.S. global-warming pollution by more than a quarter without raising American electric bills. And if all of America adopted the same energy-efficiency policies that California is now putting in place, the country would never have to build another polluting power plant.

How did California do it? In part, a smart California Energy Commission has promoted strong building standards and the aggressive deployment of energy-efficient technologies and strategies — and has done so with support of both Democratic and Republican leadership over three decades.

There’s no good reason why the Iowa legislature and Governor Chet Culver could not cooperate to implement some of the successful regulations from California. Then we could convince the members of the Iowa Utilities Board that conservation would go a long way toward meeting our baseload needs.

Too many people believe in the false choice of “clean coal” or nuclear power.  

Continue Reading...

Iowa Global Warming kicks off 2008 campaign

This came to me over e-mail. I appreciate the heads-up about events that progressive groups are planning.

The Iowa Global Warming campaign is back for 2008!

After a short hiatus, Iowa Global Warming is back to work and starting our 2008 campaign. After a successful 2007, in which most of the presidential candidates took increasingly strong positions on global warming, we are expanding our work to include state and local policies as well. Our goals are:

– To get people involved as effectively and easily as possible, even if you only have a minute to give.

– To create a ‘buzz’ for global warming solutions through public events, word of mouth and media attention.

– To provide opportunities to get together, meet new people and have fun.

– And most importantly to make sure that our elected officials make global warming solutions a priority!

In that spirit, you are invited to  Iowa Global Warming’s official campaign kickoff on St. Patrick’s Day – ‘You don’t have to be Irish to go Green’. Free admission to see ‘Leonardo DiCaprio’s The 11th Hour’. For more info on the film go to the website: www.11thHourFilm.com

Details: ‘The 11th Hour’ global warming documentary produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio. Monday, March 17 from 6:30 – 9:00 pm @ Billy Joe’s Picture Show, 1701 25th St., West Des Moines. Free Admission, Free Appetizers, Free Popcorn and Beverages. Food and Drink Specials.

Iowa Global Warming is here to help; so if you have a question or want to get involved, please give us a call or send us an email. We will always try to get back to you as soon as possible. And of course, you can visit our website: www.iowaglobalwarming.org

Thank you for your support of our campaign. We’re looking forward to a great year of making Global Warming Solutions a priority!

Andrew Snow

Iowa Global Warming

521 E. Locust St, suite 220

Des Moines, IA 50311

515.244.1194 x209


Mike Carberry

Iowa Global Warming

2029 Friendship St.

Iowa City, IA 52245



Continue Reading...

Please contact Iowa senators on energy efficiency bill

I saw on the I-Renew e-mail list that the Iowa Environmental Council has put out an action alert urging citizens to contact senators in support of SF 2083. It’s an important bill that would improve energy efficiency in this state.

The full text of the action alert, along with suggested wording for your communication with legislators, is after the jump. Of course it’s better to put things in your own words if you can.

Continue Reading...

Vilsack mentions only part of the solution to global warming

Tom Vilsack wrote an op-ed in the Des Moines Register on Sunday about global warming. For him, the answer is conserve energy, invest in biofuels and renewable energy, and develop better technology for coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

Everyone interested in a comprehensive solution to global warming should read the report Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change.

How we design our communities can dramatically increase or decrease our country’s carbon footprint. If we don’t consider these factors, sprawling development could wipe out any reduction in greenhouse gases we get from energy-efficiency and cleaner energy sources.

I highly recommend this report to Vilsack and other smart people who like to delve into policy details.

Page 1 Page 2