By Gail Parson
With the Iowa State Fair kicking off this weekend – and with President Obama announcing earlier this month that the federal Clean Power Plan has been finalized – it’s worth considering a few of the ways clean energy will play a role in the festivities in Des Moines.
First, one of the musical headliners – The Fray – is more than just a world-famous rock band. The band members are also prominent clean energy supporters.
Check out this music video The Fray filmed last year at the massive, 377-megawatt Ivanpah solar farm in California:
Second, the national nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) will be part of a discussion on Iowa clean energy called “Clean Air + Clean Energy = Good Business.”
This panel will discuss the Clean Power Plan – a federal policy which will expand clean energy nationwide by setting the first-ever limits on the amount of carbon pollution our nation’s power plants can emit.
The panel will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 16, at the John Deere Agriculture Building. It is open to press and the public.
I will be joined on the panel by Iowa business leaders including former University of Iowa football star Tim Dwight, who’s now in the solar business and will lead the discussion; Warren McKenna of the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association; Rob Hach of the Iowa Wind Energy Association; Grant Menke, policy director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association; and Emily Rice, who’s the business development manager at the Des Moines-based energy efficiency company The Energy Group.
Here’s what Emily had to say when the Clean Power Plan was finalized Aug. 3:
“While the federal Clean Power Plan is the most ambitious action our nation has ever taken to combat the rising economic costs of climate change, it actually does much more than that,” she said. “By sending a strong, clear market signal to the private sector, it will give wind, solar, and energy efficiency companies the confidence they need to expand their operations and hire more workers. It will boost Iowa’s existing energy efficiency efforts, improving the vitality of businesses and communities. The Clean Power Plan’s built-in flexibility gives our state’s leaders the opportunity to help Iowa continue to build our clean energy future.”
And the third reason why clean energy will play a big role in the Iowa State Fair this weekend? About 30 percent of Iowa’s electricity comes from clean, renewable energy sources like solar and wind – the highest such percentage in the country.
For Iowa’s manufacturing sector, that means jobs, like these in Newton helping to manufacture wind turbine blades:
But as we all know, at the state fair it’s agriculture that takes center stage. So as a 4-H alum, I wanted to also take a look at the Clean Power Plan through the 4-H pledge to the head, heart, hands and health.
See you at the fair!
Gail Parson is E2’s Midwest Advocate.
(Homepage photo courtesy of Iowa State Fair.)