Renewable Energy Jobs on the Ballot
by Matt Carr (The Hill/New Energy America) If I asked you the most important state for renewable energy, what comes to mind?
Is it California? … Let me make the case for a state that may not have immediately come to mind as a renewable energy leader — Iowa. Since passing its first-in-the-nation renewable portfolio standard law in 1983, Iowa has quietly built itself into a renewable energy powerhouse.
Despite being in the middle of the pack in land area, Iowa has cultivated a leading-edge clean energy industry that far belies its modest size. It may not surprise anyone that Iowa leads the nation in biofuel production by a healthy margin, but it is also second in the nation in wind energy production. I’ll reserve for a future column the interesting case of the top-ranking wind state, Texas, which most people associate with only fossil fuels.
As former Republican Gov. Terry Branstad noted, the renewable industry has delivered “high-quality, good-paying jobs that are helping grow family incomes across this state.” When asked about the 100 percent renewables proposal, current GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds lauded the plan to “bring sustainable and affordable energy” to Iowa.
The 2020 campaign begins the moment the midterms are over, and attention will turn to Iowa. Energy jobs in Iowa are clean energy jobs (with efficiency included, they outnumber fossil energy jobs about four to 1, and are growing, unlike fossil energy jobs), and renewable electricity will almost certainly demand the kind of support that biofuels demands in the state.
And it doesn’t stop with Iowa. Voters throughout the Midwest are seeing the opportunities in renewable energy and are pressuring their representatives to get on board. In fact, it’s one of the few unifying issues among voters across the political spectrum.
Candidates in 2020 can run on a robust clean energy platform, starting with the first caucuses, by promising to push the United States to become “more like Iowa.” READ MORE