Des Moines needs a clean energy commitment

Why 100%?

Let’s make Des Moines a clean energy leader here in Iowa

Des Moines’ Mayor and City Council have an opportunity to lead by committing the city to achieve 100% clean energy by 2030. By reaching 24/7 carbon-free electricity in the next decade, Des Moines and its residents can realize cleaner air and water, cleaner energy, greater health benefits, and economic prosperity. This ambitious goal is not only necessary —  but attainable.

166 cities across the US have already committed to 100% renewable electricity community-wide. These include many cities in the Midwest, such as: Minneapolis, Minnesota; St. Paul, Minnesota; St. Louis, Missouri; Kansas City, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; Madison, Wisconsin; and Cleveland, Ohio. Let’s make Des Moines next! 

The need is clear and this move is already underway by cities around the country. Rather than asking why we need a 100% clean energy resolution — let’s ask ourselves why not?

24/7 Carbon-Free Draft Resolution

Read a draft of the proposal that was introduced to the

Des Moines City Council during their meeting on October 19 here.

Our Vision

Why do we need a clean energy commitment — and how can a resolution get us there?

The consequences of burning fossil fuels are immense. Cities are major emitters and our local government can tackle climate change and lead the needed transition to clean energy. The City of Des Moines currently has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 28% by 2025 – but we need to go further to prevent the climate crisis from worsening. 

While a clean energy transition for our City will benefit all residents, a resolution will increase environmental justice and equity by lifting Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) who most often suffer the health effects of poor air quality. Research shows that BIPOC people experience worse health outcomes from environmental contaminants and Black Americans are three times more likely to die from air pollution compared to their white counterparts.

While MidAmerican Energy has made recent investments in renewable energy, the utility still owns and/or operates five coal plants within the state, with no plans to retire them. Footnote These uneconomical plants continue to pollute our air and water, despite electricity from clean energy being more cost-effective. The continued operation of these plants means that MidAmerican Energy’s pledge is no more than a marketing ploy – a 24/7 carbon-free resolution would call for these plants to retire.

Collectively, Des Moines is a very large utility customer and the City Council can accelerate our utility’s switch to 100% clean electricity. The City Council can use its franchise agreement negotiations with MidAmerican Energy to move the utility to truly live up to its 100% pledge.

The City can also speed the clean energy transition with direct investments in clean energy resources. Des Moines should seek solar energy systems on government buildings through Power Purchase Agreements, develop public electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and phase in electric city-owned vehicles and public transportation. 

The transition to clean energy is bringing jobs and economic growth. We know that low-cost, clean energy draws major businesses to our state. When the city achieves 100% clean energy, Des Moines can attract and retain major employers committed to a more sustainable workplace. 

The switch to clean power brings prosperity: cleaner air, better health, environmental justice, energy resilience, and economic growth. The City Council has the opportunity and the ability to step up and make Des Moines the statewide leader in the clean energy transition.

Clean Energy Facts

Learn more about the state of clean energy here in the state and our city
  • There is a huge opportunity for clean energy growth, yet Des Moines residents and buildings are still being served a large amount of electricity generated from fossil fuels. MidAmerican Energy owns all or part of five coal plants in the state, ranking among the top 20 utilities nationwide for the size of its coal plant fleet.[1]

  • Residential, commercial, and industrial energy usage accounted for 73% of Des Moines greenhouse gas emissions in 2017.[2] Greenhouse gasses from fossil fuels are by far the largest contributor to climate change.

  • Iowa is a national leader in wind energy, with 41.2% of our electricity generation coming from wind in 2019.[3] Personal solar systems and large-scale solar projects are on the rise across Iowa. The state ranks 16th nationally for technical solar potential.[4] To get to 100% clean energy, we must also efficiently use energy in our homes, businesses, and public spaces.

  • Clean energy supports thousands of jobs in Iowa with 9,000-10,000 wind sector jobs[5], nearly 900 solar jobs[6], and more than 20,000 energy efficiency jobs[7] in the state in 2019.

Learn More

Home

Why 100%?

Let’s make Des Moines a clean energy leader here in Iowa

Des Moines’ Mayor and City Council have an opportunity to lead by committing the city to achieve 100% clean energy by 2030. By reaching 24/7 carbon-free electricity in the next decade, Des Moines and its residents can realize cleaner air and water, cleaner energy, greater health benefits, and economic prosperity. This ambitious goal is not only necessary —  but attainable.

166 cities across the US have already committed to 100% renewable electricity community-wide. These include many cities in the Midwest, such as: Minneapolis, Minnesota; St. Paul, Minnesota; St. Louis, Missouri; Kansas City, Missouri; Chicago, Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; Madison, Wisconsin; and Cleveland, Ohio. Let’s make Des Moines next! 

The need is clear and this move is already underway by cities around the country. Rather than asking why we need a 100% clean energy resolution — let’s ask ourselves why not?

24/7 Carbon-Free Draft Resolution

Read a draft of the proposal that was introduced to the

Des Moines City Council during their meeting on October 19 here.

Our Vision

Our Vision

Why do we need a clean energy commitment — and how can a resolution get us there?

The consequences of burning fossil fuels are immense. Cities are major emitters and our local government can tackle climate change and lead the needed transition to clean energy. The City of Des Moines currently has a goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 28% by 2025 – but we need to go further to prevent the climate crisis from worsening. 

While a clean energy transition for our City will benefit all residents, a resolution will increase environmental justice and equity by lifting Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) who most often suffer the health effects of poor air quality. Research shows that BIPOC people experience worse health outcomes from environmental contaminants and Black Americans are three times more likely to die from air pollution compared to their white counterparts.

While MidAmerican Energy has made recent investments in renewable energy, the utility still owns and/or operates five coal plants within the state, with no plans to retire them. Footnote These uneconomical plants continue to pollute our air and water, despite electricity from clean energy being more cost-effective. The continued operation of these plants means that MidAmerican Energy’s pledge is no more than a marketing ploy – a 24/7 carbon-free resolution would call for these plants to retire.

Collectively, Des Moines is a very large utility customer and the City Council can accelerate our utility’s switch to 100% clean electricity. The City Council can use its franchise agreement negotiations with MidAmerican Energy to move the utility to truly live up to its 100% pledge.

The City can also speed the clean energy transition with direct investments in clean energy resources. Des Moines should seek solar energy systems on government buildings through Power Purchase Agreements, develop public electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and phase in electric city-owned vehicles and public transportation. 

The transition to clean energy is bringing jobs and economic growth. We know that low-cost, clean energy draws major businesses to our state. When the city achieves 100% clean energy, Des Moines can attract and retain major employers committed to a more sustainable workplace. 

The switch to clean power brings prosperity: cleaner air, better health, environmental justice, energy resilience, and economic growth. The City Council has the opportunity and the ability to step up and make Des Moines the statewide leader in the clean energy transition.

Facts

Clean Energy Facts

Learn more about the state of clean energy here in the state and our city
  • There is a huge opportunity for clean energy growth, yet Des Moines residents and buildings are still being served a large amount of electricity generated from fossil fuels. MidAmerican Energy owns all or part of five coal plants in the state, ranking among the top 20 utilities nationwide for the size of its coal plant fleet.[1]

  • Residential, commercial, and industrial energy usage accounted for 73% of Des Moines greenhouse gas emissions in 2017.[2] Greenhouse gasses from fossil fuels are by far the largest contributor to climate change.

  • Iowa is a national leader in wind energy, with 41.2% of our electricity generation coming from wind in 2019.[3] Personal solar systems and large-scale solar projects are on the rise across Iowa. The state ranks 16th nationally for technical solar potential.[4] To get to 100% clean energy, we must also efficiently use energy in our homes, businesses, and public spaces.

  • Clean energy supports thousands of jobs in Iowa with 9,000-10,000 wind sector jobs[5], nearly 900 solar jobs[6], and more than 20,000 energy efficiency jobs[7] in the state in 2019.

Learn More

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD

Add your name to show your support for a clean energy future here in Des Moines and learn how to stay engaged with this important initiative. Your name will also be added to our grassroots letter of support that will be delivered to the city council.