Guest Columnist

Iowa energy law brings welcome change

Doug Kopp president of Alliant Energy's Iowa energy company Interstate Power and Light Company speaks during a news conference at the Indian Creek Nature Center in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday, April 13, 2018. The Amazing Space facility is Iowa's only non-profit nature center that has achieved Net Zero status by producing 100% of its electricity on-site with solar panels. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Doug Kopp president of Alliant Energy's Iowa energy company Interstate Power and Light Company speaks during a news conference at the Indian Creek Nature Center in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday, April 13, 2018. The Amazing Space facility is Iowa's only non-profit nature center that has achieved Net Zero status by producing 100% of its electricity on-site with solar panels. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

You may have heard about the energy legislation, known as Senate File 2311, which was recently signed into law. I would like to take this opportunity to provide more in-depth context about how the new law can positively impact Iowans.

At Alliant Energy, we are dedicated to helping deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy to all of our customers — from your neighbor down the street to the large factory in your community. We support policy initiatives that contribute to our state’s economic well-being and enable us to better respond to our customers’ changing needs.

Iowa’s new energy law encourages investments in the natural gas system. In our state, natural gas is an important, low-cost resource that helps heat homes, power equipment in businesses and even dry crops. The new law enhances opportunities to extend natural gas service to customers who currently do not have access and to encourage new businesses to locate or expand in our communities.

In addition, the new law provides an option to use historic costs to forecast future investments, including projects that enhance the energy grid to improve security and help deliver reliable and increasingly clean energy options to customers. This approach is used in many other states and provides increased opportunities for stakeholders to participate in the planning of future energy investments that benefit our communities.

Another policy update allows for greater regulatory efficiencies in the recovery of transmission-related investments. Transmission lines carry electric power from generating facilities to the substations that deliver power to customers. System enhancements help ensure the continued reliability of our energy system and enable further development of renewables.

Alliant Energy and other energy providers have strongly embraced renewable energy. For example, our wind expansion plans include adding enough clean energy by 2020 to power half a million Iowa homes. This ongoing effort to advance clean energy will ensure that our state remains a leader in renewable energy.

The legislation also updates energy efficiency programs. Since 1990, our state has achieved significant energy savings as a result of consistent investments in energy efficiency programs for both electricity and natural gas. These programs provide education, rebates and other incentives to encourage energy efficient practices. The new law retains a strong pledge to energy efficiency.

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With customers becoming increasingly efficient in their energy use and more energy being generated by renewable resources, we have an opportunity to modernize energy efficiency policy in a way that will continue to reduce energy use and deliver cost savings to consumers.

Alliant Energy plans to build on its history of offering beneficial energy efficiency programs. Independent of legislative changes, we have continually adapted our offerings to reflect the way customers use and interact with these programs. Moreover, we will continue to provide low-income customers with opportunities to lower their energy use.

As someone who has spent the last 35 years in this industry, I can assure you that we intend to work tirelessly to continue to respond to our customers’ changing energy needs. Making Iowa a better place to live and work is central to our company’s values of providing safe, reliable, affordable and increasingly clean energy to the customers and communities we are privileged to serve.

• Doug Kopp is president of Alliant Energy’s Iowa energy company.

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