As former industrial communities seek to rebuild their economies around clean energy, two cities in the Midwest provide examples with starkly different outcomes.
An effort is underway in a small Iowa city to create a municipal electric utility that would supplant the service now supplied by Alliant Energy, an investor-owned utility — the latest in a series of similar efforts around the country.
A pair of federal efforts could make it more profitable to turn organic waste from agriculture and other sources into energy by taking advantage of the Renewable Fuel Standard.
The race is on to finish about a dozen large renewable energy projects in Iowa after state lawmakers did not act on renewing a key tax credit. The state’s production tax credit of 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour will not be available for any projects that go into operation after Dec. 31, 2017. The Iowa Legislature did not vote on renewing the credit during the session that ended in late April. The impact will be twofold: projects now in process won’t get the credit if they aren’t operating by the end of the year, and there will be no state tax credit as of Jan. 1 for larger solar projects.
While it remains unclear how an Iowa utility will change the way solar customers are compensated, installers in the state aren’t taking chances.
While the Trump administration retreats from climate and clean energy initiatives, a new report highlights states — including Iowa — that can provide a blueprint for moving forward.
Wind power represents more than 80 percent of the new electricity generating capacity built in the Midwest and Great Plains states over the past five years as the industry continues to grow, according to a report released today.
States across the Midwest are updating their interconnection rules for solar customers, a process likely to cut the time and money required to establish a connection to the grid. In addition, the new standards will equip utilities to efficiently process solar applications as their numbers likely escalate in coming years, according to an attorney who worked on revisions recently approved by the Iowa Utilities Board. Updated and improved interconnection standards are “a critical part of moving distributed generation ahead. And having clear, fair and efficient interconnection rules is critical to enabling a healthy distributed generation market,” said Sky Stanfield, an attorney who was involved in negotiating the new standards. The costs of interconnection are among the “soft costs” of solar installation that have not fallen along with the hardware costs of solar panels in recent years.
Despite a directive from Iowa’s utility regulator to develop a new tariff likely to foster more distributed generation, one of the state’s largest utilities once again has offered up a plan that appears likely to achieve the opposite.
Electric cooperatives that have taken the plunge into solar energy are the stars of a new website aimed at persuading more co-ops to add solar energy to their mix.