Republicans’ SF 2311 legislation would reverse Iowa’s long commitment to energy efficiency (energy conservation) programs, taking Iowa backwards. It would make energy efficiency programs optional and could eliminate them altogether.
According to the Iowa Environment Council’s analysis, “The bill allows utilities to discriminate against solar customers and charge them separate and higher rates. The bill could lead to massive increases in rates to solar customers effectively shutting down the solar industry in Iowa. This bill will increase energy costs, threaten nearly 21,000 solar and energy efficiency jobs, reduce consumer choice, and increase reliance on fossil fuels.”
The bill is scheduled for debate on Monday so please call today and over the weekend if you support energy efficiency and solar programs.
Since 1990 Iowa has consistently invested in utility energy efficiency programs. Investing in energy efficiency programs is the most common sense approach among total energy choices. Reducing overall energy needs is a win-win. The cheapest energy is the energy we don’t use.
The Iowa Energy Plan was published in December 2016. It focused on energy efficiency and conservation as key components of Iowa’s future energy needs. The energy plan chaired by then-Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds states, “increasing deployment of energy efficiency activities not only makes economic sense but also has strong support from Iowans.”
Governor Reynolds is on the record supporting energy efficiency programs with the Iowa Energy Plan. Will she cave and allow the ideological Republican zealots kill common sense energy efficiency programs?
In November 2017 the Iowa Utilities Association rolled out a comprehensive study of Iowa’s Energy Efficiency Potential. That study determined that 17% of electricity use and 15% of gas use in the state could be saved cost-effectively through efficiency programs over the next decade.
Why would Iowans want to go backwards on energy efficiency programs if they could save 15-17% of their future energy needs? The Republicans’ bill would not only reverse Iowa’s 25 years of progress and would prevent Iowans from future savings.
Insulating homes, buying energy efficient appliances and replacing doors and windows that leak energy is a good investment. It’s estimated the return is $2 to $3 for every $1 invested. Conservation through energy efficiency should be a no brainer with that kind of economic return. How can any Republican call themselves a conservative when they want to abolish an economically-proven energy conservation program?
According to the Energy Futures group, “since 2009 Iowa’s efficiency programs implemented by MidAmerican and Interstate Power & Light have provided approximately 10% of customers’ total annual electricity needs and produced lifetime savings equal to five years of total residential electricity consumption.”
The Energy Group points to the additional economic development contributions and employment of Iowans resulting from energy efficient programs.
“There were more than 20,000 such energy efficiency jobs in the state in 2016. Energy efficiency tends to be much more labor intensive than supplying energy. Moreover, the labor for many efficiency measures cannot be outsourced. Put another way efficiency programs create local jobs for energy auditors, insulation contractors, manufacturers and vendors of efficiency lighting and other products, heating and cooling contractors, and other local businesses who sell and/or install efficiency products and services. Efficiency programs can help local businesses become more cost-competitive, preserving local jobs. Every dollar that efficiency programs save, is another dollar in consumers’ “pockets” which they can spend at local stores, restaurants and other venues. These “rippling effects” through the economy can be substantial.”
Iowans proudly boasts that 37% of our electricity is generated from renewable wind energy. Power from solar is rapidly growing as well with over $123 million in solar investments in 97 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Iowa has one of the most low-cost energy environments due to renewables and energy conservation. This bill threatens Iowa’s solar future by raising rates for solar customers.
Iowa has led the country in efficiency, conservation and renewable energy. Don’t let Republicans reverse years of progress with this backward energy bill.
by Rick Smith