DES MOINES, Iowa — Monday evening, the Des Moines City Council voted to receive and file a draft of a resolution that would commit to go to 100% clean energy by 2030, which could be a huge step in the push to protect the environment.
So what exactly would this do?
First, the City of Des Moines would commit to using things like solar and win energy instead of coal.
The City has a franchise agreement with MidAmerican Energy to provide power, and they would include the goal in that agreement going forward.
Currently, MidAmerican has five operating coal plants throughout the state. Environmental activists say they need to go.
"MidAmerican has been heading in the first direction with the increase of renewable energy projects for sure, but what we're advocating for is real 100%," Jordan Oster of the Iowa Environmental Council said. "And in order to get there, we need to not have those coal plants."
MidAmerican did not comment on whether they plan on retiring the plants. Instead, they emphasized affordability, saying they have some of the lowest rates in the country, which they say is important for vulnerable populations.
One activist, Jacob Grobe, disagrees, saying the best way to serve those populations is by having clean air. Grobe also said he and other activists like him are going to hold the City officials accountable.
"Climate justice is racial. It's economic. It's social justice as well," Grobe said. "The effects of climate change are going to hurt the most vulnerable first, and so government has to push private companies to do the right thing."
The City Council will now have workshop at an upcoming date to be determined to further discuss that resolution.
A few of the council members expressed they would like MidAmerican to have a seat that discussion table from beginning to end.
If this resolution is approved, Des Moines would join more than 160 other cities who have made the same commitment to 100% clean energy by 2030, including Minneapolis, Kansas City and Cleveland.
MidAmerican's full statement to Local 5 News is below.
"MidAmerican Energy is proud to be a long-standing partner with the city of Des Moines in delivering reliable, affordable and increasingly renewable energy to its citizens. Our promise to all customers and the communities that we serve is to deliver on all three – reliability, affordability and the use of renewable resources. Our track record of supporting the environment is proven through our leadership in the development of wind energy and exploration of other carbon-free technologies. MidAmerican has the largest wind fleet of any rate-regulated utility, generating renewable energy equal to 61% of our customers’ usage last year and an estimated 83% this year.
Through polar vortexes and derechos and every kind of Midwestern weather in between, MidAmerican delivers over 99% reliable energy to its customers.
Finally, important to all customers, but especially those who are most vulnerable, is providing affordable energy – something MidAmerican does by maintaining some of the lowest rates in the country, currently the 13th lowest and 31% below the national average."