Three environmental groups are calling on MidAmerican Energy to retire its coal power plants in order to save Iowa customers millions of dollars.
A Sierra Club analysis of the utility’s numbers found it lost $27 million over the past five years by operating two coal plants in Sioux City. Kerri Johannsen, energy program director for the Iowa Environmental Council, says MidAmerican’s latest emissions plan doesn’t meet state standards for operating in a cost-effective way.
“The argument we’re making is that MidAmerican’s plan does not meet that standard of managing these emissions cost-effectively,” she says, “because shutting down the plants would be more cost effective.” By retiring two coal plants in Sioux City by 2023, the report says MidAmerican could save $92 million.
Johannsen says the Sierra Club, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, and the Iowa Environmental Council are urging the company to save money in addition to avoiding the public health and climate impacts of the plants.
“There are a lot of utilities that, once they crunch the numbers, they found that the better option for customers is closing down these expensive old plants and replacing them with renewables,” she says. The environmental groups are making the arguments to the Iowa Utilities Board, which is reviewing MidAmerican’s latest emissions plan. A hearing in the case is slated to go before the board in February.
(By Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)