Help Save Energy Efficiency.

Updated:

Right  now, making it’s way through the Iowa State House is a horrible bill  – Senate File (SF) 2311 (formerly SSB 3093). The bill has passed out of committees in both houses and was passed out of the full senate.  The bill is now awaiting debate in the full house. This bill has sweeping changes that decimates energy efficiency programs, potentially losing over 80% of the current funds, it essentially deregulates utilities in Iowa, leaving all utility customers vulnerable to soaring prices and the whims of the utility companies, and it makes it easier for gas pipelines to be built in Iowa.

If enacted, Senate File (SF) 2311 (formerly SSB 3093), which is being championed by Iowa’s investor owned utilities, would:
  • Effectively deregulate Iowa’s energy utilities;
  • Slash energy efficiency programs, potentially by up to 80% or more;
  • Make it easier for gas pipelines to build in Iowa.
  • And though the bad solar provisions were removed, there is still an effort to put them back into the bill which if added back in, could essentially kill rooftop and community solar by allowing utility companies to discriminate against solar customers.
So what does that mean for you? It means:
This bill is bad for Iowans. Energy efficiency is a key factor that keeps utility rates low in Iowa. If passed,  utility rates will go up. Low income people will lose out on energy efficiency and weatherization programs  programs and utility companies can build unnecessary fossils fuel generation plants and charge all of their customers to foot the bill.
We could see a potential loss of over 20,000 jobs in the energy efficiency sectors and and a loss of over $200,000,000 that would have been savings for utility customers.
If you are asking what we can do about it, keep reading!

Talking points for the overall bill:  Click here.

Energy Efficiency Fact Sheet: Click here.

Another bad bill that is now making it’s way through the senate is SSB 3078. This bill proposes to eliminate all energy efficiency programs. It is on the Ways and Means subcommittee schedule for Monday, March 19 at 3:00 p.m. The subcommittee is made up of Senator Fenestra, Senator Hogg, and Senator R.Schmidt. Please contact all three of them and ask them to oppose SSB 3078.  Click here to find their contact info.

2017 Best Development Award Winners

1000 Friends of Iowa proudly announces eleven recipients as its Best Development Award winners of 2017. Five independent jurors from across the state selected projects that implement the efficient use of our resources to develop sustainable communities that provide a high quality of life.

The 2017 Best Development Award winners are listed below (category, winner, project, city, link). For more information about each project, click the link.

  • In the Innovative Leadership category, the City of Clive for the Walnut Creek and Clive Greenbelt initiatives in Clive <link>
  • In the Mixed Use category, Blackbird Investments for the Wilkins Building in Des Moines <link>
  • In the New Residential category, KCL Engineering for the Parkside Residential Development in Charles City <link>
  • In the Placemaking/Greenspace category, the City of Glidden for the Albert Kruger, Sr. Shelter in Glidden <link>
  • In the Renewable Energy category, St. John the Apostle Catholic Church and Red Lion Renewables for the Solar Array in Norwalk <link>
  • In the Renovated Civic category, the City of Sioux City for the Sioux City Promenade in Sioux City <link>
  • In the Renovated Commercial category, SingleSpeed Brewing Co. for the Wonder Bread Building in Waterloo <link>
  • Renovated Residential category, Downtown Leases and Lofts for the Kibbey Building in Marshalltown <link>
  • In the Stormwater Management category, City of Denison for the 14th Street Parking Lot in Denison <link>
  • In the Transportation/Complete Streets category, the City of Muscatine for the Kent Stein Park to Deep Lakes Park Trail in Muscatine <link>
  • In a special Jurors’ Choice category, the City of Dubuque for its long-term, big-vision cross-cutting activities. <link>

The press and public are invited to celebrate these “development heroes” at an Award Ceremony, to be held at the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, at 11:45 a.m.

Talking Points to Oppose SF 2311

Oppose Senate File 2311

This bill undermines Iowa’s clean energy leadership by effectively end utility energy efficiency programs, allowing new charges on solar customers, and removing consumer protections and oversight. This bill will increase energy costs, threaten nearly 21,000 solar and energy efficiency jobs, reduce consumer choice, and increase reliance on fossil fuels.

 

Iowa has some of the lowest energy rates in the Midwest and the country while at the same time developing one of the strongest clean energy economies. This bill undermines many of the policies that have led to Iowa’s cost-effective clean energy leadership.

 

Major Issues with SF 2311

 

Deregulation Without Competition

  • Iowa electric and gas utilities are monopolies. Consumers have no choice in their provider for electric or gas service. This bill deregulate utilities without providing for any competition.
  • The bill decreases consumer choice even further. The bill could scale back or even eliminate the few consumer choices available today, including energy efficiency and solar.

 

Undermining Iowa’s Leadership and Economic Benefits on Clean Energy

  • Solar jobs are a fast-growing sector of the economy and are present all over the state. This bill threatens every solar job in the state, over 700 in 2016.
  • There are solar installations in every one of Iowa’s 99 counties with rural Iowa leading on solar.
  • There were over 20,000 direct jobs in the energy efficiency sector in Iowa in 2016.[i] These jobs are threatened as the bill threatens to eliminate energy efficiency programs.
  • In 2016, Iowa was ranked as the third least expensive state overall for energy prices.”[ii] Iowa’s long-standing energy efficiency programs have helped keep energy costs low in Iowa.
  • Utility efficiency programs generate between $2 and $3 in benefits for every $1 invested.

Shifting Costs and Risks to Consumers

  • Reduces needed oversight on all utilities, including the rural electric cooperatives that already have the highest rates and fewest options for customers to manage energy bills.
  • Rolls back energy efficiency, which is a very low-cost resource. Energy efficiency benefits everyone and helps keep utility rates low and stable for all customers. Rolling back energy efficiency will increase costs to customers in the long run.
  • Eliminates oversight on expensive equipment to control emissions at coal plants and replaces with voluntary, pre-approval for passing costs to customers.

 

Attack on Energy Efficiency

  • Makes programs entirely optional for all customers, allowing them to ‘opt in’ every five years.
  • Minimum participation is 10% of customers, meaning that efficiency programs could see a 90% reduction in budgets and participation and satisfy the bill’s requirements.
  • Adds a particular cost-effectiveness test (total resource cost test) that will scale back energy efficiency options and result in less savings.
  • Even with the opt in, puts arbitrary limits on how much utilities spend on energy efficiency (either 1.5% for gas or 2% for electric of a customer’s billing).
  • Reduces or eliminates IUB oversight on rural electric cooperatives energy efficiency.
  • Eliminates IUB reporting on efficiency to the General Assembly, reducing accountability.

 

Attack on Renewable Energy

  • The bills allow utilities to discriminate against solar customers and charge them separate and higher rates.
  • The bills could lead to massive increases in rates to solar customers effectively shutting down the solar industry in Iowa.
  • Exempts rural electric cooperatives from Iowa’s policy to encourage renewable energy (476.41).

 

Attack on Consumer Protection and Consumer Choice

  • Exempts electric coops from rules on customer deposits, meaning there would be no limits on the charges for new customers to get connected or re-connected.
  • Limits or could even eliminate customer options for adding solar or implementing energy efficiency in a home or business.
  • Removes or restricts IUB oversight on a wide range of critical issues, including energy efficiency, coal plant emissions controls, consumer protections, and rural electric coops and municipal utilities.

 

Bill Process

 

SSB 3093 was the original bill number. The bill was amended and passed the Senate Commerce Committee with an 8-7 vote (1 R, 6 Ds voted no, 8 Rs voted yes). After committee passage, the bill number was changed to SF 2311. This bill contains several sections that will roll back energy efficiency programs. Sec. 9 in particular of the bill will decimate the programs and savings.

 

Sec. 17 allows utilities to discriminate against solar customers. (The committee did amend the bill by removing the subsection in Sec. 15 on revenue neutral tariffs.) However, much of the bill was not changed, so concerns discussed above remain.

 

More amendments are expected during floor debate in the Senate, including an amendment to show efficiency costs on customers’ bills.

 

[1] Clean Energy Trust, Clean Jobs Midwest: Iowa (2017) at https://www.cleanjobsmidwest.com/state/iowa.

[1] Iowa Energy Plan (2016) at 4. Available at http://iowaenergyplan.org/.

[i] Clean Energy Trust, Clean Jobs Midwest: Iowa (2017) at https://www.cleanjobsmidwest.com/state/iowa.

[ii] Iowa Energy Plan (2016) at 4. Available at http://iowaenergyplan.org/.

These talking points were put together by our friends at the Iowa Environmental Council.

Celebrate smart development

1000 Friends of Iowa is pleased to celebrate the winners of the 2017 Best Development Awards. The Awards Program showcases projects that exemplify the connections between building, land, and natural resource development and quality of life. With a mission focused on responsible land use, 1000 Friends of Iowa promotes smart growth planning principles that help achieve socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable communities. The public is invited to recognize our award recipients with us.

The projects recognized in this year’s awards are located in the following cities: Charles City, Clive, Denison, Des Moines, Dubuque, Glidden, Marshalltown, Muscatine, Norwalk, Sioux City, Waterloo. Find details on the award-winning projects at http://1000friendsofiowa.org/2017-best-development-award-winners/

What:                             2017 Best Development Awards Ceremony

When:                            January 16, 2018, from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Where:                           Iowa State Capitol Building, 1st Floor Rotunda

2017 Best Development Award Nominations

Edited Nov. 29, 2017: Thank you for your interest! Nominations closed on Nov 17, 2017. Please join us for the Awards Ceremony.

Everyone is welcome to attend our Awards Ceremony to celebrate our winners — Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. A light lunch will be served at the beautiful Capitol Rotunda beforehand.

Want to do more to help? Volunteer to set up and tear down by sending email to awards@1000friendsofiowa.org

Become a Sponsor for the 2018 BDA!

1000 Friends of Iowa’s Best Development Awards – Become a sponsor!

Iowa communities are facing turning points; how they move forward impacts Iowa for generations to come.

Showcasing Iowa’s very best works raises the bar, encouraging and inspiring tomorrow’s efforts to higher levels of sustainability.

With 15 years of project winners and more to come, the Best Development Awards create a platform of sustainable growth models that are innovative, economically viable, and serve their communities well.

The Best Development Awards recognizes projects in 12 categories:

  •   Residential – New, Renovated
  •   Commercial – New, Renovated
  •   Civic – New, Renovated
  •   Mixed Use Space
  •   Innovative Leadership
  •   Storm Water Management
  •   Transportation/Complete Streets
  •   Renewable Energy
  •   Urban Placemaking/Green Space

Timeline: Award nominations open September 1, 2018. Nominees are judged by independent jurors in December and the awards ceremony is January 22,  2019.

Your generous, tax-deductible sponsorship gift will enable us to amplify awareness of innovative development works and further inspire residents, cities, businesses, and organizations to do well by Iowa’s resources. 
Won’t you become a sponsor today?

To download the full sponsorship packet, click here.

To make a sponsorship gift, click here.

Sponsorship Benefits:

To see and read more about winners, check out The Iowan Magazine feature on 2015 winners: http://bit.ly/29SV8Xh and go to http://1000friendsofiowa.org/our- programs/best-development-awards/

People’s Climate Movement Des Moines

People’s Climate Movement Des Moines, IA Event

Saturday April 29, 2017

On Saturday April 29, Iowans from across the state will join together at the People’s Climate Rally in Des Moines, IA to stand up for good jobs, environmental justice and clean energy. At the same time Iowa will take a stand to oppose the dismantling of the Clean Power Plan, the expansion of fossil fuels, and the weakening of provisions that support renewable energy, equity and creation of good jobs.

Though the focus of the event is serious, there will be fun for the entire family. The day will be interspersed with music, great speakers and activities for young and old!

Who: The People’s Climate Movement Rally Des Moines, IA

When: Saturday, April 29 from1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Where: West Terrace on the Iowa State Capitol Grounds

What: Music, great speakers and kids activities

RSVP: People’s Climate Movement DSM

David Osterberg from the Iowa Policy Project will be the emcee for the event. There will be music featuring well know singer and songwriter Dartanyan Brown and Native American drummers. Numerous organizations from around the state will have booths and there will be kids activities including kite making and kite flying, art areas and games for kids as well.

The People’s Climate Movement Des Moines is a coalition of thirty organizations, Churches, scientists and more, who are joining together to find real solutions to the climate crisis while supporting good jobs, social justice and clean energy. Organizations include 1000 Friends of Iowa, Central Iowa Sierra Club, and the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition. Please RSVP at: People’s Climate Movement DSM

 

2016 Stormwater Management: Private Winner :: Cherry Glen Learning Farm :: Ray and Sue Meylor

This category features projects that are successful in mitigating, directing, and decreasing storm water run off in urban or rural settings. Commercial, civic, or residential projects can include but are not limited to the use of natural or sustainable filtration systems with the aim to improve water quality through landscaping or streetscaping, or to recycle and reuse collected water for conservation purposes, such as landscape watering.

Cherry Glen Learning Farm is the state’s first watershed mitigation farm and is located in Polk City. It also has solar-powered irrigation.  Designed by the Polk County Soil and Water Conservation District, this 10 A farm has two basins, one of which connects to farm tile. The system receives mocha-looking high nitrate water and pumps clear and mostly-nitrate-free water through irrigation via solar power. Forty percent of the clean water is returned to the aquifer. Four acres are enrolled into prairie through NRCS, and another 4 A switched from commodity crops to annual agro-forestry cropping. A high tunnel and attached greenhouse extend the growing season, indoor and outdoor cooking centers are available for classes. On-site composting supplements the water management to improve soil health.

2016 Urban Placemaking Winner :: The Alley :: The Alley KADTS

Our Urban Placemaking/Green Spaces category spotlights spaces and attractions that combine sustainability, culture, inclusivity of an all-ages population, preservation of open spaces, and creative solutions that engage community members to interact with nature, with a local, small business economy, and with each other. Additional qualities include a community-led or multi-organizational effort with diverse stakeholders as well as accessibility for all to experience a sense of belonging and participation.

the alley, oskaloosa, 2016 winnerThe Alley had many organizations and companies involved in its transformation from an unwelcoming, litter-ridden space to an open corridor from the local mall to the historic Oskaloosa square. A grassroots group led the effort in a makeover that includes tables, umbrellas, seating, strings of LED ambience lights, planters (repurposed livestock tanks) with attached ‘walls’ for signage displays, and an artistic metal entrance archway. The signage allows for historic markers, artwork, and business and personal signs.

oskaloosa, the alley

Many community organizations and companies as well as the high school metal shop class  were involved. The project was privately funded through grants, donations (cash and in-kind), advertising, and sponsorships to encourage community pride and ownership. The Alley has been used for community events, meetings, collaborations, musical and theatrical performances, as well as informal neighborly gatherings. The entrance arch embodies The Alley’s slogan, “Preserving Our Heritage While Building Our Future.”

People United for Responsible Land Use