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Sierra Club: Des Moines Commits to 100% Carbon-Free Electricity

Targeted News Service (Press Releases)

DES MOINES, Iowa, Jan. 14 -- The Sierra Club issued the following news release on Jan. 13:

Yesterday evening, the Des Moines City Council unanimously passed a resolution establishing a goal of 100%, 24/7 carbon-free electricity community-wide by 2035.

Des Moines is the first city in Iowa to commit to this kind of goal, but many major cities in the midwest have pledged 100% renewable already, including Chicago, Minneapolis, and Kansas City. Mayor Frank Crownie introduced the resolution where it was supported by Councilman Josh Mandelbaum. Councilman Mandelbaum identified the need for this commitment to support renewable energy generation in Iowa as well as his hopes for other communities in the state to take up their own planning toward 100% clean energy. Des Moines' clean energy commitment comes as the Iowa state legislature convenes this week in the capital city.

The unique 24/7 language comes from Google's recent commitment not just to offset their emissions, but fully power their facilities with wind and solar energy twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. In addition to Google in Council Bluffs, Facebook and Microsoft also have data centers in the state that rely on affordable, renewable energy. Iowa generates more than 40 percent of its electricity from wind power, ranking first in the nation for wind energy as a percentage of total generation, and companies like Google have invested even more in Iowa wind, including a 200 megawatt farm in Cherokee County in 2019.

The 100% carbon-free clean renewable energy goal grew out of the work of the Des Moines Task Force on Sustainability, a resident-led task force created by the Mayor and City Council to engage the community on local sustainability goals.

While MidAmerican Energy, who supplies power to the Des Moines, has set their own targets for renewable energy generation, the utility still operates five coal fired power plants in the state with no public retirement commitments.

Des Moines has experienced extreme weather and climate events in recent years--such as the Derecho in August of 2020, record rainfalls in 2018, and increased water and air temperatures. These compounding events affect community quality of life, harming historically marginalized communities most of all. The future of farming in Iowa depends on our ability to combat climate change. Without bold and immediate action, Iowa will see increased flooding and droughts, changes in crop and livestock viability, and new pests and pathogens which could devastate farmers.

In response, Jess Mazour, Conservation Coordinator for the Sierra Club Iowa Chapter and Des Moines Resident, issued the following statement:

"I am pleased with the Des Moines City Council for passing a bold climate resolution. It's imperative that we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to ensure a safe and habitable climate for future generations."

In response, Kari Carney, Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Iowa and member of Des Moines Task Force on Sustainability, issued the following statement:

"Last night showed that with hard work and perseverance, community members can make a difference in their communities! We are thrilled with the resolution and that the city of Des Moines takes seriously its role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions and being a clean energy leader in the state by passing this resolution."

In response, Carolyn Uhlenhake-Walker, a member of the Des Moines Task Force, issued the following statement:

"Passing this 24/7 Clean Energy Resolution with a 7-0 council vote shows you what can be done with the collaboration of the DSM Citizen Taskforce on Sustainability, the Iowa Environmental Council, the Sierra Club, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and other environmental groups!"


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