IOWA

IOWA

Iowa, known for its sprawling plains and cornfields, is home to 3 million people and an even higher population of hogs. With nearly 56 thousand square miles, Iowa ranks 42nd in population density of the United States. Like many other states, the name Iowa is derived from the language of the native people who first inhabited the land, in this case the Dakota Sioux.

Iowa is already seeing significant effects from climate change which are expected to worsen in the coming years. In particular, hotter, warmer weather leaves Iowa vulnerable to destructive flooding as the state is bordered by the Missouri river to the west and the Mississippi river to the east. The Iowa Policy Project found that precipitation in the state has been increasing steadily since the 1970s at a rate of about 1.25 inches per decade, which is the largest increase across the US. The resulting flooding is dangerous for residents and damaging to Iowa’s economy. Damage to the transportation infrastructure and water management systems alone could exceed $480 million per year (according to 2015 dollar values) by the end of this century.

Iowa’s farmers are also on the front lives of the climate battle. As drought and flooding threaten their crops and extreme heat threatens their health, Iowa farmers across the political spectrum have begun to demand climate solutions. In fact, many have begun developing solutions themselves. A movement is growing among farmers to transition from traditional farming, which strips soil of carbon, to regenerative farming, which focuses on sequestering carbon within soil. The benefits from these practices are multi-faceted, as they reduce net emissions and build resiliency in the agricultural sector amidst threats to the food supply from climate change.

Iowa is making strides in its renewable resource development. The state generated 42% of its energy from wind turbines, the largest share of any state in the country. However, even as Iowa is not generating a significant share of its energy from coal or natural gas, these fossil fuels do represent a significant share of Iowa’s energy consumption. Iowa ranked 5th in 2018 for the most coal use for electricity generation. Natural gas accounts for almost one-fifth of the energy consumed in the state.

While Iowa state lacks a comprehensive climate action plan, in August 2021, the Iowa Environmental Council,  announced its vision for Iowa to reach 100% clean power generation by 2035. In the meantime, Iowa City has developed  goals to include the reduction of emissions to 80% of 2005 levels by 2050 and Des Moines has ambitions to go carbon-free by 2035.

Iowa and a Changing Climate

CREDIT: IOWA PBS

CURRENT NEWS

PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

U.S. Taps $420M to Boost Water Supplies Hit by Climate Change

04/01/22
Federal officials slated millions of dollars for rural water projects in several states, with the Biden administration looking to shore up infrastructure needs made more urgent by long-term drought conditions that have been exacerbated by…

Apple begins preparation work in Iowa, plans to connect Danish data center to district heating scheme

03/24/22
Apple is finally close to beginning construction work on its long-delay Iowa data center and has begun infrastructure improvements on the site, and is planning to expand and connect its Viborg data center in Denmark…

Grassley And Ernst Call On Biden To Unleash Iowa Biofuel

03/10/22
The senators’ new bill — the Home Front Energy Independence Act — puts the ban on Russian oil into law. At the same time, it couples that ban with opening up biofuel production that’s grown…

Iowa City City Council shifts from two-year to five-year strategic plan

03/08/22
The Iowa City City Council’s next strategic plan, which councilors say will prioritize overarching climate action, affordable housing, transit, and social justice and equity, will determine the city’s trajectory for the next five years.
CBC

Biofuels Producers And Supporters Urge Iowa Senate To Approve Biofuels Access Bill

03/04/22
More than 200 biofuel producers and supporters traveled to Des Moines earlier this week to encourage state lawmakers to expand support for locally grown and renewable energy sources. They urged Iowa senators to approve the…

Chevron plans to buy Ames-based biodiesel company Renewable Energy Group for $3.15 billion

02/28/22
Ames Chamber of Commerce CEO Dan Culhane said his heart nearly stopped when he first caught wind that oil giant Chevron Corp. wanted to buy Renewable Energy Group, a home-grown Ames company that's become a…

A proposed southwest Iowa wind farm faces opposition from local residents

02/15/22
The company would like to build a 400 megawatt capacity wind farm with the capacity to serve about 144,000 Iowa homes. The project would consist of constructing anywhere from 90 to 140 wind turbines in…

Iowa-Based Power Company Proposes New Renewable Energy Project

01/10/22
An Iowa energy company has proposed a renewable energy project that they say will allow them to take an important step. The company says that when combined with other projects, enough renewable energy would be…

Iowa Environmental Council sets goal to reach 100 percent clean power in Iowa by 2035

08/27/21
The Iowa Environmental Council today announced its vision for Iowa to reach 100 percent clean power generation by 2035. “Achieving 100 percent clean power in Iowa by 2035 is absolutely doable and the critical first…

Des Moines seeks consultant to create climate plan after setting ambitious goals to curb greenhouse emissions

06/03/21
Coinciding with Earth Day, Des Moines officials announced Thursday that they are beginning the process to establish a climate plan that will help fulfill the city's recent commitments to drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Preparing for Climate Change in Iowa

08/30/20
This page provides an overview of the steps Iowa is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

IOWA ENERGY PLAN

04/15/20
The constantly changing energy sector is, and will continue to be, a defining challenge for policymakers. State governments must constantly evaluate and consider energy- related opportunities and threats to be able to ensure increased economic…

Iowa Energy Plan

04/10/20
Iowa recognizes and has identified energy as a key resource and area of strategic importance to the state’s economy and economic development efforts. Iowa is already a national leader in wind energy and biodiesel and…

KEY RESOURCES

Iowa State Profile and Energy Estimates

09/23/21
Located between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, Iowa's gently rolling plains have some of the richest farmland in the nation and significant renewable energy resources. The state's climate, with rainfall in the growing season and…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

Environment and Natural Resources State Bill Tracking Database

09/01/21
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks environment and natural resources bills that have been introduced in the 50 states, territories and Washington, D.C.

Clean Edge

06/15/21
Clean Edge, Inc. is a developer and publisher of thematic stock indexes tracking clean energy, transportation, water, and the grid...

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The State of Climate Adaptation in Public Health An Assessment of 16 U.S. States

10/06/20
EcoAdaptpartnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council to assess the state of climate adaptation planning and implementation for climate-related threats to public health in 16 U.S. states.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Iowa

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, Iowa experienced two flooding events and nine severe storms. The damages of each event led to losses of at least $1 billion.

Climate Change

08/14/20
Where Can I Find More Information on Climate Change?

State-by-State: Climate Change in Iowa

07/31/20
Agriculture is the biggest contributor to Iowa’s economy, and, according to a Risky Business report, the whole Midwest region will likely face crop yield declines of up to 19% by mid-century and 63% by the…

Iowa Renewable Energy Association

04/10/20
Founded in 1992, The Iowa Renewable Energy Association (I-Renew) is a membership-based, educational non-profit organization.

Renewable Fuels News

04/03/20
BIODIESEL. BETTER FOR IOWA. BETTER FOR FARMERS. BETTER FOR YOUR ENGINE. Learn more about biodiesel, a cleaner-burning homegrown biofuel that boosts engine performance, while adding value to Iowa's crops

Clean Energy

04/03/20
Due to abundant wind and solar resources, a strong history of business and state support, and the work of the Iowa Environmental Council and our partners, Iowa has become as a national clean energy leader…

Iowa State Profile and Energy Estimates

04/03/20
Located between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, Iowa's gently rolling plains have some of the richest farmland in the nation and significant renewable energy resources. The state's climate, with rainfall in the growing season and…

Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program

04/03/20
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program helps retail operators of motor fuel dispensing sites or fueling stations to convert their equipment to allow the expanded use of renewable fuels in Iowa. The program utilizes grant…

MORE NEWS

Governor Reynolds declares August 18th as ‘Solar Day in Iowa’

By Morgan Ward   08/18/21  
Governor Kim Reynolds declared today, August 18th, as “Solar Day in Iowa.” To celebrate, solar industry leaders and supporters gathered today for “Solar Day at the Iowa State Fair” for a live reading of the…

Monarch Fueling Station at Lincolnway Energy, 16 other biofuel locations provide habitat for butterflies

By Ronna Faaborg  Photo: Nirmalendu Mazumdar   08/17/21  
The monarch butterfly population has been in decline in recent decades, but Nevada’s Lincolnway Energy is one of the organizations across the state of Iowa that are increasing the pollinators’ habitat.

Iowa Biofuels Tour Makes New Stop At Verbio Rng Plant

By Cassidy Walter   08/17/21  
Today nearly 30 Congressional staffers visited the Verbio renewable natural gas (RNG) plant in Nevada as part of the 12th Annual Iowa Biofuels: Science and Sustainability Tour – marking the first time RNG has been…

What does the alarming new climate report mean for Iowa?

By Jerry Schnoor  Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images   08/14/21  
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its sixth state-of-the-science report this week, and it should be alarming for Iowa, the nation, and the world.

Alliant Energy’s renewable energy use in Iowa jumps in 2020

By John Steppe  Photo: Jim Slosiarek   07/20/21  
More than 40 percent of Alliant Energy’s power sold in Iowa during 2020 came from renewable sources, according to a report released Tuesday, as the company continues toward its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by…

30 Year Climate Data Finds Few Changes in Cedar Rapids

By Ryan Brain   05/13/21  
We hear a lot about the affects of global warming and climate change. Some of the warmest years on record have been in the last 10 years or so. But new climate data released from…

Iowa’s rural future is brighter with solar energy

By Cody Smith  Photo: Jim Slosiarek   05/10/21  
For decades Iowans have led the nation in innovating our way to a cleaner, more reliable power grid that promotes public health and economic prosperity in our rural communities. Now, as we celebrate hitting the…

The Puzzling Battle Over Ethanol in Iowa

By Chris Clayton   05/03/21  
I'm not the most versed guy on the subject, but it's surprising this year to watch from a distance as Iowa lawmakers seem incapable of providing a long-term demand boost for the state's biofuels industry…

Local activists push MPW for all renewable energy

By Charles Potter   04/29/21  
Even as the planning continues at Muscatine Power and Water to switch from coal fired plants to more environmentally friendly methods of energy production, two community activists continue to push for completely renewable energy. Sandra…

US contractor books 200MW wind build in Iowa

04/28/21  
Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives (IEA) has been awarded a $50m (€41m) contract to construct Invenergy’s 200MW Plymouth Wind Energy Center in northwest Iowa. The US contractor will carry out all of the engineering, procurement and…

In Iowa Call, John Kerry Touts Biden’s Climate Action, Encourages Local Leadership

By Isabella Murray   04/22/21  
Former Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday hopped on an Iowa-organized Earth Day Zoom call with state and national climate leaders to encourage a reassertion of climate authority following years of avoidance. Conferencing in…

Earth Day 2021: How climate change impacts Iowa, and how you can reduce your carbon footprint

By Brandon Lawrence  Photo: Climate Central   04/22/21  
Over the last decade, the terms "climate change" and "global warming" have been a hot button topic in local, state and federal debates and elections. Unfortunately, climate change has been politicized for far too long.…

Cedar Rapids to focus on equity in climate action plan

By Marissa Payne  Photo: Rebecca F. Miller   04/21/21  
If a city has a heat wave, with several days above 100 degrees, some residents are more vulnerable to that heat than others. Hot temperatures might worsen asthma symptoms. A welder may lack air conditioning…

Crises collide: Homeless in America when climate disaster strikes

By Andrew McCormick  Photo: Marella Moon Albanese / NBC News   04/20/21  
For the homeless, natural disasters prove torturous for more than the obvious fact that it's worse to be outside than inside during a storm.

As Ames explores formalizing a climate action plan, officials from across Iowa share their varied approaches

By Isabella Rosario   04/15/21  
The year 2020 was the Earth's second-warmest on record. Annual average precipitation is expected to rise in Iowa, and so is the number of consecutive dry days each year. As a consequence, flooding is expected to…

Wapello Solar ribbon cutting marks the completion of Iowa’s largest solar energy facility

By Jim Rudisill  Photo: Jim Rudisill   04/10/21  
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the largest solar energy facility in Iowa, the 127.5 megawatt – direct current Wapello Solar photovoltaic project located on nearly 800 acres of land south of Wapello, was held Friday under a…
EDF

Climate inaction could have a heavy financial toll on Iowa farmers

04/05/21  
Agriculture is the lifeblood of Iowa’s rural economy. In 37 of Iowa’s counties, more than half of total economic output derives from agriculture and related industries.

Report: Iowa City schools exceeding climate change goals

By Grace King  Photo: Liz Martin   03/10/21  
The Iowa City Community School District this year could see a 48 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions since 2018, putting it years ahead of a goal of a 45 percent reduction by 2030. By…

Politics and the City: Advocates want more from Green Worcester Plan

By Steven H. Foskett Jr.   01/24/21  
The City Council last week tabled a report on the latest draft of the Green Worcester Plan. But local environmental advocates didn't wait to give some feedback on the plan, which was developed over the past…

Midwest suffered $11 billion in damage from last summer’s derecho

By Morgan Greene  Photo by Charlie Neibergall   01/24/21  
The summer derecho that rattled windows and ripped down trees across the Midwest caused an estimated $11 billion in damage, becoming the costliest storm event to occur in less than 24 hours in at least…

Iowa’s ethanol production falls by 500 million gallon as Americans drive less due to COVID-19

By Donnelle Eller   01/22/21  
Iowa ethanol plants produced 500 million fewer gallons last year compared to 2019 as remote work and learning because of the coronavirus caused a steep drop in Americans' daily travel. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association…

Senators ask Biden administration to reverse latest ethanol waivers

Photo by Andy Abeyta   01/22/21  
Iowa’s senators expressed their unhappiness with three ethanol waivers granted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday, in the waning hours of the Trump administration.

Rep. Ashley Hinson concerned by Biden’s early policy proposals

By James Lynch  Photo by Jim Slosiarek   01/22/21  
U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson has offered to work with President Joe Biden when they can find common ground, but she’s finding little to agree with in his initial flurry of executive actions. So while she…

Iowa farmers, lawmakers react to President Biden rejoining Paris Climate Agreement

01/21/21  
President Joe Biden took office and issued several executive orders and policy proposals. This included rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement. The Paris Agreement sets out a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change. It also…

These 3 US cities, all in red states, are green energy leaders

By Michelle Lewis   01/18/21  
Texas, Utah, and Iowa may have cast their 2020 presidential electoral votes for fossil-fuel champion Donald Trump, but Irving, Salt Lake City, and Des Moines are implementing ambitious green energy plans to reach net zero…

Following Google’s footsteps, Des Moines pledges 24/7 clean electricity by 2035

By Emma Penrod   01/15/21  
The Des Moines City Council on Monday approved a resolution outlining a series of carbon emission goals, including a 24/7 clean energy by 2035 pledge modeled after Google's round-the-clock energy plan

Inside Clean Energy: Des Moines Just Set a New Bar for City Clean Energy Goals

By Dan Gearino  Photo by Steve Pope   01/14/21  
Cities setting clean energy goals now have a new leader to emulate: Des Moines, Iowa. The Des Moines city council voted 7-0 on Monday in favor of a resolution that sets a goal of reaching…

Study: Batteries could bolster renewables in Iowa, but likely not without help

By Karen Uhlenhuth   01/11/21  
Monday evening, the Des Moines City Council voted to receive and file a draft of a resolution that would commit to go to 100% clean energy by 2030, which could be a huge step in…

Iowa’s clean energy sector employs 10,000, could create many more jobs with policy changes, group says

By Donnelle Eller  Photo by Zach Boyden-Holmes   01/08/21  
Iowa has about 9,800 wind, solar and other clean energy jobs at 113 businesses, but changes in state and federal policy could drive that number much higher, a group behind a new study on the industry contends.

Iowa can’t rest on its clean energy laurels; these three policies would help the most

By Steve Falck   01/07/21  
In clean energy, Iowa has long set the pace for the Midwest, and from there the nation. It was true in 1983 when we created the first Renewable Portfolio Standard setting statewide clean energy goals.

U.S. Disaster Costs Doubled in 2020, Reflecting Costs of Climate Change

By Christopher Flavelle  Photo by Jae C. Hong   01/07/21  
Hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters across the United States caused $95 billion in damage last year, according to new data, almost double the amount in 2019 and the third-highest losses since 2010.

With loss of nuclear plant, more clean energy is needed

By David Osterberg   01/05/21  
For years nearly 10 percent of electricity produced in Iowa came from the Duane Arnold Energy Center (DAEC), the nuclear reactor north of Palo. Now the reactor is gone for good. Its owner, NextEra, made…

Report: Iowa is in middle of pack in prepping for impacts of climate change

By Matt Kelley   01/01/21  
Iowa has moderate vulnerability to the health impacts of climate change, according to a study from a non-profit, non-partisan health policy, research and advocacy group.

Alliant Energy’s Iowa renewable energy use climbs to over 26%

By John Steppe  Photo by Jim Slosiarek   12/03/20  
More than a quarter of energy used by Alliant Energy’s Iowa customers in 2019 came from renewable resources, the company said Thursday.

Mason City Moves Forward With Solar Power For Waterworks

By Nick Kruszalnicki   12/01/20  
It's all part of a larger solar project, which will involve the multipurpose arena and the wastewater treatment plant.

Farmers Are Warming Up To The Fight Against Climate Change

By Daniel Charles   11/20/20  
Farmers swarmed Capitol Hill wearing caps with the words "Don't Cap Our Future." And it worked. The legislation died, derailing the boldest plan Congress had crafted to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Is Coyote Run Farm in central Iowa the nation’s most important farm?

By Neil Hamilton  Photo by Christopher Gannon   11/16/20  
You may not have heard of Matt Russell or Coyote Run Farm yet, but you will. Matt and his husband, Patrick, operate their 110-acre farm near Lacona, based on selling good food they grow to people they know,…

What the Biden agenda means for Iowa

By Matt Rourke   11/15/20  
In the short term, we call on U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst to acknowledge Biden’s election win and reject Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. Doing so will help facilitate a smooth transition…

Iowa utility has a plan to save money and the climate

By Michael Schmidt  Photo bt Rebecca F. Miller   11/14/20  
Last week, Alliant Energy announced it would retire its coal-fired Lansing Generating Station by the end of 2022 and convert its coal-fired Burlington Generating Station to natural gas in 2021. Alliant will add 400 megawatts…
CBS

Once skeptics, Iowa farmers look to lead fight against global warming

By Christopher King   11/10/20  
Massive wildfires scorch the west coast, turning skies into scenes from alien worlds. Punishing hurricanes pound the Atlantic and gulf coasts, flattening cities and towns with powerful winds, inundating them with floods. And the catastrophic…

Experts: Iowa’s renewable energy growth depends on better transmission

Photo by Kelsey Kremer   10/31/20  
Iowa could become an even bigger leader in renewable energy, especially if renewable hydrogen is developed and transmission lines are improved,a panel of university, government and corporate leaders said Wednesday.

Des Moines considering committing to 100% carbon-free energy over the next ten years

By Eva Andersen and Sam Sides   10/19/20  
Monday evening, the Des Moines City Council voted to receive and file a draft of a resolution that would commit to go to 100% clean energy by 2030, which could be a huge step in…

To reduce greenhouse gases, you’ve got to measure them and that’s not always easy

By David Brooks   10/19/20  
If only greenhouse gasses were fabric dyes, it would be a lot easier to limit climate change. I say that because of stories I’ve heard from old-timers who tell of the days before New England’s…

Letter: Republicans must vote to address climate change

By Michael Loebach and Glen Oak   10/19/20  
When it comes to climate change, there is a clear difference between Sen. Joni Ernst and her challenger, Theresa Greenfield, in the U.S. Senate race. To my fellow conservatives and libertarians, I encourage you to…

Iowa derecho in August was most costly thunderstorm disaster in U.S. history

By Bob Henson  Photo by KC McGinnis   10/17/20  
No single thunderstorm event in modern times — not even a tornado — has wrought as much economic devastation as the derecho that slammed the nation’s Corn Belt on Aug. 10, based on analyses from…

A vote for climate action is a vote for Iowa farmers, and jobs

By Rob Hogg  Phot by AP   10/16/20  
As voters in Iowa head to the polls, remember this: A vote for climate action is a vote for farmers, jobs, and health. On the other side of the coronavirus epidemic, solving climate change is…

Panel discusses benefits of wind development in southwest Iowa

By Ryan Matheny   10/13/20  
Experts on a number of topics related to wind energy weighed in on further development in southwest Iowa in a special forum Tuesday afternoon. Organized by the group Power Up Iowa — which advocates for…

Iowa City looks to create climate conversations with new ambassadors program

By Samantha Murray  Photo by Daniel McGregor-Huyer   10/13/20  
The City of Iowa City will launch Iowa City Climate Ambassadors this winter, a new program that aims to inspire people to work against climate change by creating initiatives on the individual level. The program…

Wind energy jobs in Iowa expected to double or triple by 2030

By Angie Bergenson   10/10/20  
The renewable energy market is expected to see tremendous growth over the next decade.Even in the current economic struggles recorded worldwide, wind energy jobs are expected to take off over the next ten years. Iowa…
SCJ

OTHER VOICES: Clean energy pays dividends in Iowa

By Bill Anderson   10/10/20  
uring Clean Energy Week, I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with leaders from across Iowa about the numerous benefits that increasing our clean energy capacity brings to our communities. I was joined…