Tag Archives: Des Moines Register

Iowa conservatives have a voice on energy, conservation policy

Contributed Opinion by Robert Brownell, Sara Kurovski
and Ruth Randleman, Des Moines Register

As Republicans who are serving or have served in elective office, it comes as no surprise to us that many people believe energy and conservation issues are the sole domain of liberals and the Democratic Party. That’s far from the truth.

In an effort to balance today’s lopsided public debate about energy policy, we’ve joined the Iowa Conservative Energy Forum [to] advance an agenda that has enjoyed a tradition of strong leadership from Republicans dating back to Teddy Roosevelt. Continue reading here.

Robert Brownell is a Polk County supervisor. Sara Kurovski is Pleasant Hill mayor. Ruth Randleman is the former mayor of Carlisle. The Iowa Conservative Energy Forum is a nonprofit organization that advocates for common-sense, market-based energy solutions that increase access to clean, affordable and reliable energy statewide. To learn more, visit www.iowacef.org.

Photo Credit: MidAmerican Energy
MidAmerican Energy Company’s GreenAdvantage Program

Ponca tribes reclaim ancestral land along Trail of Tears in Nebraska

By Kevin Abourezk, Indianz.com
‘A force field against the Keystone XL Pipeline’

NELIGH, Nebraska – They stuck their hands into the ground, poking small holes into the fine sand and filling each hole with a single seed. They did this in the Sandhills of northeast Nebraska, more than 100 people standing in a long line stretching from one end of the field to the other. A sweltering sun beat down, and a strong wind blew the trees and grass . . . For the fifth year, farmers, friends, family and Native people planted the Poncas’ sacred corn on Art and Helen Tanderup’s land on Sunday. Nearly 200 people filled the couple’s farm to participate in the corn planting and to celebrate a transfer of land from the Tanderups to the Ponca tribes of Oklahoma and Nebraska. Read more here.

Photo by Kevin AbourezkNative children plant seeds at the fifth annual Ponca sacred corn planting ceremony on the Tanderup farm near Neligh, Nebraska, on June 10, 2018


  • In possible roadblock for Keystone XL, pipeline opponents gift land to Ponca, by Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald
    LINCOLN — For five years, opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline and members of the Ponca Indian Tribe have sown native tribal corn in the path of the controversial project as a form of resistance. Now they’ve planted another potential roadblock.
  • Removed from the land before, Ponca nation vows to protect the Earth from Keystone XL, by Kevin Hardy, Des Moines Register
    NELIGH, Neb. — Under a boundless canopy of clear blue skies painted with wispy white clouds, Mekasi Camp Horinek blows a whistle as he turns and prays to the four sacred directions.  He looks up to the creator as the high sun delivers welcome relief to battering prairie winds. He kneels, clutches a few strands of ryegrass and prays to Mother Earth. Horinek leads this corn planting ceremony at the edge of a crop field that could be mistaken for thousands of others like it across the fertile heartland. But his feet are planted at the site of two monumental crossings — one widely perceived as a historic injustice when his Ponca tribe was forcibly marched off this land 140 years ago; the other feared as a modern one, marking the proposed route for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Study: The sky’s the limit for Nebraska’s wind energy industry

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Nebraska Radio Network

Our region of the country is securing its popularity for renewable energy projects, according to a report from the Lyons-based Center for Rural Affairs. Lucas Nelsen, who authored the report “Link to Rural Development and a Renewable Future,” says 41% of the new energy generation projects that went online last year were specifically wind energy projects. Read more.

Photo by Megan Farmer, The World-Herald. Grand Prairie wind farm, Nebraska’s largest, near O’Neill in Holt County.

Link To Rural Development And A Renewable Future (PDF).



Rural working voters cannot be taken for granted

Des Moines Register Opinion, written by Chuck Hassebrook



These voters stand ready to embrace practical policies to create genuine opportunity in their communities. Nearly 90 percent support investment in job training and small business development. Over three quarters support federal investments in renewable energy development, roads and water and sewer infrastructure. Click to read more.

Chuck Hassebrook is the former Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs, based in Lyons, Nebraska.


SEE ALSO: Link to Rural Development And A Renewable FutureReport written by Lucas Nelsen, Policy Program Associate, Center for Rural Affairs


Conservative Minnesota counties stand to benefit from clean energy development, written by Frank Jossi

minnesota-wind-turbinesnew report says proposed renewable energy investments in Minnesota could create more than 5,000 construction jobs and $7 billion in economic activity, largely in conservative, rural parts of the state. “We are clearly seeing a bigger (political) divide in Minnesota and clean energy is a way to bridge that divide,” said Chris Kunkle, Wind on the Wires regional policy manager for Minnesota. “You’re talking about advancing policies and investments from the Twin Cities that benefit rural Minnesota and create new jobs and tax revenue.” Link to the article.

Photo by Minnesota Pollution Control Agency / Creative Commons

Report: Michigan, Minnesota among clean energy ‘success stories,’ written by Andy Balaskovitz

turbine-bladesMichigan and Minnesota are exemplar Midwest states when it comes to state-level policy pushing for clean energy development, according to a recent report from the Georgetown Climate Center.

Michigan is credited largely for its commitment to energy efficiency, which has been emphasized by Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration as state lawmakers craft sweeping energy policy reform. The administration has also been proactive in modeling the state’s electric-generation future in the context of the Clean Power Plan as well as the state’s largest utilities’ closing several coal plants. Meanwhile, the report credits Minnesota for reducing in-state carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by 28 percent between 2005 and 2013 due to strong renewable energy and efficiency standards. Read more.

Organization referenced in Andy Balaskovitz’s article: Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future

Photo by Michael Hicks / Creative Commons

Wind Is the New Corn for Struggling Farmers

Subtitle: Seventy percent of U.S. turbines are in low-income rural areas

By Jennifer Oldham, Bloomberg Businessweek

bloomberg-news-windWind energy, the fastest-growing source of electricity in the U.S., is transforming low-income rural areas in ways not seen since the federal government gave land to homesteaders 150 years ago. As commodity prices threaten to reach decade lows and farmers struggle to meet debt payments, wind has become the newest cash crop, saving family farms across a wide swath of the heartland.
Click to continue reading.


The Price of Solar Is Declining to Unprecedented Lows

By Robert Fares, Scientific American

Scientific American
The installed price of solar energy has declined significantly in recent years as policy and market forces have driven more and more solar installations. Now, the latest data show that the continued decrease in solar prices is unlikely to slow down anytime soon, with total installed prices dropping by 5 percent for rooftop residential systems, and 12 percent for larger utility-scale solar farms. With solar already achieving record-low prices, the cost decline observed in 2015 indicates that the coming years will likely see utility-scale solar become cost competitive with conventional forms of electricity generation.  Continue reading

EIA: Solar generation to grow 8 GW in 2016, Utility Dive
Northwest Indiana churches champion clean energy, Chicago Tribune
New solar farm will harvest the power of the sun, Pine Journal
Faribault looks to bright future with potential of solar energy subscription,
Faribault Daily News
Iowa Utilities Board approves huge wind energy project, Des Moines Register
Renewable Energy Was 16.9 Percent of US Electric Generation in the First Half of 2016, Renewable Energy World
Sustainable Women Series: Amassing & Analyzing Zero Energy Building Data, Renewable Energy World

An open letter to Warren Buffett on solar power

By Don Laughlin of Iowa City. Published by the Des Moines Register

Warren BuffettEditorial Note: Don Laughlin has worked on renewable energy for decades — and lived it. He put up a wind turbine at his country home near West Branch, later moving to Iowa City and filling the roof with solar panels. In his final days, this advocate is pushing his message forward. Now unable to write by hand, he spoke this week of his regret at not sending a letter to billionaire Warren Buffett to make MidAmerican Energy more friendly to rooftop solar. Distributed generation is the issue — helping homeowners get a better return on their solar investment, which MidAmerican has opposed. In Don’s usual positive approach to a contested issue, he dictated this letter from his nursing home bed. It’s a letter to Warren Buffett, but to all of us as well.

Read Don Laughlin’s letter
Photo of Warren Buffett by Nati Harnik / Associated Press

Local View: Buffett should support solar, by Eric Williams, President of Nebraskans for Solar, Lincoln Journal Star

Grand Rapids brewery to make beer with solar power

By Shandra Martinez, MLive


GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Brewery Vivant is tapping the sun to produce its beer. There are now 192 solar panels on the above Grand Rapids brewery and adjoining pub. The 54Kw rooftop system is expected to produce 20 percent of its energy needs. The rest will come from renewable energy purchased through Consumers Energy and its Green Generation program. Continue reading.

Image: Brewery Vivant owners Kris and Jason Spaulding by the pub’s new rooftop solar panels. (Courtesy photo)

Duke Energy’s military solar project in Indiana moving forward, Charlotte Business Journal
USDA releases energy grants for 33 Iowa farms, businesses, Sioux City Journal
Bishop Richard Pates: Politicians should note Iowa’s action on climate, Des Moines Register – Opinion
Development of renewable energy is worthy of our support, Tri-State Neighbor – Opinion
2 gaming companies to leave Nerada Power staring Oct. 1, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Is Burning Trees Still Green? Some Experts Now Question Biomass, Iowa Public Radio 

Why clean energy is necessary for a sustainable future

By Tim Dwight, Des Moines Register / OPINION 

Tim Dwight, a former NFL and University of Iowa player, is president of the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association. Photo by Benjamin Roberts, Iowa City Press-Citizen

Tim Dwight, a former NFL and University of Iowa player, is president of the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association. Photo by Benjamin Roberts, Iowa City Press-Citizen

Each day I see how clean energy and growing the economy go hand in hand. In my day job, I focus on solar energy and partner with businesses to provide solar solutions they need to boost their business, lower their electric bills and decrease their carbon footprint, all happening together. We also work with agriculture to design and install ground to rooftop solar systems that provide energy and income for years ahead, in addition to their crops and livestock . . . A clean energy economy is what America needs to live sustainably and Iowa is already a leader in clean energy. Wind and solar industries are rapidly growing in the state, with wind industries already supporting 7,000 jobs in Iowa, along with 13 factories and assembly plants. Solar is also beginning to boom all across the state, encouraging the transition to a clean energy future.

Click here to read more.