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

Pipeline opponents sue to block Summit Carbon water permit

By Jared Strong 10/25/23
A carbon dioxide pipeline company’s request to withdraw more than 50 million gallons of water each year from the ground near an ethanol plant does not serve a “beneficial use” and should be denied, according…
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Other states are rejecting carbon capture pipelines. Will Iowa follow their lead?

By Donnelle Eller 10/12/23
Seventy-five acres on Charles City’s south side represents the community’s economic hope — a site the town of 7,400 residents has poured $2.2 million into, readying it in anticipation of landing a large business that…
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Summit, Navigator losses elsewhere give Iowa pipeline opponents hope

10/12/23
Carbon capture pipeline companies have suffered setbacks with permit rejections in South and North Dakota Do the turndowns bode well for Iowa opponents? Some counties hope to win court battles against the companies. But there's…
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In Iowa, Vivek Ramaswamy finds Republican voters share his disdain of climate change

By Philip Joens 09/05/23
Near the end of almost every stump speech, Vivek Ramaswamy preaches his gospel, "God is Real. There are two genders. Fossil fuels are a requirement of human prosperity.
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Talking to Conservatives About Climate Change: The Congressional Climate Caucus

By David Remnick 08/21/23
Even in a summer of record-breaking heat and disasters, Republican Presidential candidates have ignored or mocked climate change. But some conservative legislators in Congress recognize that action is necessary. Their ideas about how to tackle…
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Researchers building green fertilizer system to reuse wastes, cut greenhouse gas emissions

08/07/23
Research teams from Iowa State University and Wichita State University in Kansas are teaming up to develop a system that captures waste nitrogen and carbon dioxide to produce a green fertilizer that reduces emissions of…
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Waga Energy, Scott County Partner To Produce RNG In Iowa

By Waga Energy 08/02/23
Waga Energy, a global expert in the production of renewable natural gas (RNG) from landfills, signed a commercial agreement with the Waste Commission of Scott County, an inter-governmental solid waste management agency, and Linwood Mining…
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Facing climate crisis, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City prioritize vulnerable residents in transportation network

By Marissa Payne 07/30/23
On an overcast summer day, as downtown workers began to leave their offices, Wifag Mohammed sat on one of the flat rocks outside the Ground Transportation Center. She looked wearily onto Fourth Avenue SE, waiting…
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Iowa approves $1.6 million in grants to renewable energy projects

By Maddie Franz 07/28/23
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP) approved 35 renewable energy projects across Iowa in a board meeting July 20, with grants totaling more than $1.6 million.
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Over $1.6 Million in Grants Awarded from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program

07/27/23
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP) Board approved 35 project applications totaling more than $1.6 million during its quarterly board meeting on July 20. Seven of the projects are for ethanol infrastructure, one is…
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Iowa reaches milestone on wind energy production

By Mark Moran 07/17/23
four percent of Iowa's energy production now comes from wind - a new record for the state, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Green-energy advocates call it a big step along the road to…
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Iowa Reaches Milestone on Wind-Energy Production

By Mark Moran 07/17/23
Sixty-four percent of Iowa's energy production now comes from wind - a new record for the state, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Green-energy advocates call it a big step along the road to…
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PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

After initial denial, Iowa Utilities Board preapproves Duane Arnold Solar projects

05/08/23
After its initial denial, the Iowa Utilities Board has preapproved the Duane Arnold Solar projects in Linn County — marking a first for solar projects in Iowa.

Governors of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri throw collective support behind regional ‘hydrogen hub’ bid

04/13/23
Excitement is mounting among state leaders over the possibility that Nebraska and two neighboring states could be named a regional “hydrogen hub,” a designation that would open a door to more than $1 billion in…

A Push to Turn Farm Waste Into Fuel

04/04/23
Climate change provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act have spurred developers to build ambitious renewable energy projects that turn corn into ethanol and manure into methane....

Gevo Enters Joint Development Agreement with Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy to Measure, Report & Verify Carbon Intensity

03/16/23
Gevo, Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO) announced today that it has entered into a joint development agreement with Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy (SIRE) to measure, report and verify carbon intensity (CI) through the entire value chain, inclusive…

Are CO2 Pipelines Regulated? By Whom?

03/08/23
Currently, there are about 5,000 miles of carbon dioxide pipelines in the United States, used mostly to inject it underground to move oil to the surface through enhanced oil recovery. The 2021 infrastructure law, which…

True Solar Announces Move to Tiffin Iowa to Expand Renewable Energy Market Presence

03/06/23
True Solar, a rapidly growing solar installer, is excited to announce its move to Tiffin, Iowa. Despite being in business for a relatively short time, True Solar has established itself as a leading provider of…

Mississippi River mayors eye federal funds to fight effects of climate change

By Keely Brewer 03/06/23
A coalition of more than 100 Mississippi River mayors are pushing for more investment in natural infrastructure, ecosystem restoration and disaster resilience. The Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI) released its policy platform during…

What is environmental justice?

03/03/23
Environmental justice is the principle that all people — no matter their income, race or nationality — should be equally protected from pollution and have a say in decisions that may impact their environment or…

Land conversion due to the Renewable Fuel Standard may harm endangered species, study says

03/03/23
The Renewable Fuel Standard requires a certain amount of renewable fuels, including ethanol, to be blended into the nation’s transportation fuel supply.

Pipelines pressure GOP legislators fraught with internal contradictions

03/03/23
Rural pressure against pipelines pumping liquefied CO2 by lever of eminent domain threatens to rupture Republicans controlling the Statehouse.

Iowa to study if crops and solar panels can coexist

02/27/23
Iowa State University researchers are launching a new agrivoltaics study — or ag production that's under or between solar panels.

Biden-Harris Administration Announces $31.4M for Clean Water Infrastructure Upgrades Through Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in Iowa

02/24/23
Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $31,402,000 to Iowa from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure through this year’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF).

Iowa’s new drought plan has four levels: Normal, watch, warning and emergency

02/24/23
Iowa has a new drought plan — the first since the 1980s, when droughts were less frequent and less intense than what Iowa has seen in recent years because of climate change.

Daily on Energy: Iowa ethanol lobby fights for CO2 pipelines as means of survival in age of electric vehicles

02/21/23
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, which represents ethanol and biodiesel in the nation’s top corn-growing state, is lobbying against a Republican proposal that would introduce restrictions on the use of eminent domain for CO2 pipeline…

Climate group discusses city environmental initiatives

02/21/23
The Ames Climate Action Team discussed the Climate Action Plan’s budget, community outreach and waste mitigation during their meeting Monday evening.

Biden-Harris Administration Delivers $728 Million in Historic Investments to Address Western Drought, Improve Climate Resilience

02/13/23
Critical infrastructure investments under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act to provide clean, reliable drinking water to communities and support water conservation in the Upper Colorado River Basin

New training grant to focus on the impacts of climate change on lung health

02/10/23
A new NIH-funded grant will offer University of Iowa trainees the opportunity to conduct research in the intersection of climate change and lung health. David Stoltz, MD, PhD, professor and director of the Division of…

Shaw: Iowa biofuels industry ‘energized, but a little angry’

02/07/23
During his state of the industry address at the 2023 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit today, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw said that the Iowa biofuels industry is “energized, but a little bit…

Iowa scientists say more trees will be needed as climate change accelerates

10/07/22
With climate change causing more extreme weather across the state — intense rainstorms, floods, droughts and powerful derechos — Iowans have never needed trees more, experts say.

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.

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.

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

IUB holds public hearing for power line

By David Namanny   05/13/20  
he Iowa Utilities Board conducted a public informational meeting last week about the proposed underground transmission line for renewable wind and solar power that, if approved, would run right through the middle of Bellevue.
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Wind Power Energizes Iowa

By Woody Gottburg   05/12/20  
MidAmerican Energy says 61.3 % of the energy delivered to its Iowa customers last year came from renewable sources, mostly through wind energy. The Iowa Utilities Board says that is a 19%, or 10 percentage…
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Wind Energy Effected by the Pandemic

By Aj Taylor   05/10/20  
Renewable energy is among the many industries seeing major disruptions during the pandemic. Observers say that’s troubling news for states such as Iowa as a national leader in producing wind energy. Last year, Iowa joined…
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Wind farm in Kossuth, Winnebago counties complete and operational

By Grace Zaplatynsky   05/09/20  
After four years of planning and a year of construction, the Golden Plains Wind Farm project in Winnebago and Kossuth counties is now up and running. The 200 megawatt project, developed and constructed by EDF…
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Pandemic Hits Iowa’s Wind Energy Industry Hard

By Mike Moen   05/06/20  
Renewable energy is among the many industries seeing major disruptions during the pandemic. Observers say that's troubling news for states such as Iowa as a national leader in producing wind energy. Last year, Iowa joined…
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City Council to consider $660,000 Aid to Agency grants and more this Tuesday

By Zachary Oren Smith   05/03/20  
Last month, the Iowa City City Council passed on a utility-scale solar panel project with MidAmerican Energy at Waterworks Prairie Park. The project, which was directly mentioned in the city’s Climate Action Plan, could have…
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The Pandemic Sends an Ill Wind Through Iowa. Will Congress Step Up To Help?

By Grant Smith   05/01/20  
In 1983, Iowa was the first state to set a renewable energy standard – requiring utilities to generate a mandated share of electricity from renewable sources – and it paid off: Wind power is Iowa’s…
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Billion dollar renewable energy line developer to hold public meetings in North Iowa

By Jared McNett   03/11/20  
CORRECTION: This story has been changed to reflect the correct number of jobs the project will create during and after construction, and to clarify the type of underground line involved in the project.
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Iowans slam reported plan by Trump administration to appeal ruling against ethanol exemptions

By Donnelle Eller   03/06/20  
Iowans are criticizing the Trump administration following reports that it will appeal a federal court ruling that clamps down on waivers to oil companies seeking exemptions from a requirement that they blend ethanol and biodiesel…
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Iowa renewable fuel lobby blasts Trump’s plan to appeal court case

By Perry Beeman   03/06/20  
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association on Friday blasted President Trump over reports that he plans to appeal the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision earlier this year ruling against the government’s handling of refinery exemptions…
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Solar project could come to Iowa City park near Interstate 80

By Lee Hermiston   03/04/20  
IOWA CITY — The 200-acre Waterworks Prairie Park is home to hiking trails, ponds, wetlands, prairie and wildlife — and possibly 10,000 solar panels later this year. The solar panels may be added under a…
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John Davis—This Is Not Normal Weather

By Anna Belle Peevey   02/19/20  
John Davis is a fourth generation resident of Hamburg, Iowa. On March 17, 2019, his street flooded for the first time in its history.
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Iowa bill would give apartment-seekers more information on energy bills

By Karen Uhlenhuth/Energy News Network   02/13/20  
Iowa lawmakers are considering a bill that would require owners of large rental buildings to disclose typical utility costs to apartment-seekers.
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How Climate Change in Iowa is Changing U.S. Politics

By Justin Worland   09/12/19  
The trip to Russell’s 110-acre farm is becoming a habit for the Democratic candidates for President. Ohio Representative Tim Ryan visited before launching his campaign, and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke stopped by in June.…
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Report: Climate Change Impacts Clearer In Iowa Than Much Of US

By Kate Payne   09/05/19  
Iowa is seeing certain impacts of climate change impacts more clearly than much of the rest of the country, according to a new analysis for the Iowa Policy Project. The findings predict the trend of…
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In Iowa, Candidates Are Talking About Farming’s Climate Change Connections Like No Previous Election

By Georgina Gustin   08/15/19  
About half the candidates have policy proposals or statements addressing climate change impacts on agriculture or farming's potential as a climate solution.
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Iowa City declares climate crisis

By Zachary Oren Smith   08/06/19  
The Iowa City Council officially declared a climate crisis Tuesday Night. The declaration is the culmination of a conversation begun by Iowa City High School student Massimo Paciotto-Biggers and his group, the Climate Strikers, who…
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Health Officials (Mostly) Not Waiting to Act on Climate

By Juanita Constible   07/09/19  
A new report released by EcoAdapt with the support of NRDC finds that public health departments in 16 U.S. states are building their capacity to deal with the myriad health harms of climate disruption—even if…
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States, flooding: The Fight to Tame a Swelling River With Dams That May Be Outmatched by Climate Change

By Tyler J. Kelley   03/21/19  
Along the Missouri, John Remus controls a network of Dams that dictates the fate of millions. 'It was not designed to handle this.'
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Groups question MidAmerican’s 100% renewable energy plan, given coal reliance

By Donnelle Eller   08/07/18  
MidAmerican Energy is investing $12 billion in wind-energy generation, but environmental groups question the utility's 100-percent renewable energy plan, given its large, continued reliance on coal plants for power.
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