Iowa gets only a grade of “C” for its production of renewable energy, from the environmental group called the Union of Concerned Scientists. As in school, he says it’s a passing grade but leaves a lot of room for improvement. Rich Dana with the Iowa Renewable Energy Association, and says the law currently only requires power companies to get two-percent of their energy from renewable sources. The state’s agricultural infrastructure lends itself to the flourishing renewable-energy market, Dana says, but government just hasn’t adopted policies to encourage the market and local ownership of renewable energy facilities. Waterloo state representative Willard Jenkins says Iowans favor renewable energy sources only when it doesn’t hurt their wallets. Iowa’s electricity is fairly low-cost, so it wouldn’t be wise to push renewable power at the cost of pushing up bills for business and home customers. Republican Jenkins cautions against trying to control how fast companies turn to renewable sources for the power they sell consumers. Saying you’ll mandate ten-percent means price is “off the table,” and the consumer’s interest won’t be considered any more. Jenkins says legislation approved this spring to let MidAmerican Energy build and run a big new windfarm shows companies will invest in renewable energy without the state forcing them.
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