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Tornadoes kill 5 and injure dozens in Iowa; coalition presses lawmakers to put climate bond on CA November ballot; More residential care coming for children with acute mental health needs; and ND again ranks high for workplace danger.

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The House GOP moves to strike mention of Trump's criminal trial from the record, and his former rival Nikki Haley endorses him. Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans reject a legislative fix to ensure Biden's name appears on the November ballot.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

IA Regulators Make WindPRIME Studies Public

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Thursday, February 23, 2023   

Iowa utilities regulators have published previously undisclosed information on Des Moines-based energy giant MidAmerican Energy's proposal to construct a massive alternative-energy system called Wind PRIME. The studies cited cost-effective ways to build the project without relying on fossil fuels as a secondary energy source.

The $4 billion project would dot even more of Iowa's landscape with wind turbines. The state is already among the largest wind producers in the nation, but MidAmerican has been tight-lipped about plans for Wind PRIME, specifically what other sources of energy it will continue to use and how economical the wind project would be.

Laurie Williams, senior attorney for the Sierra Club, said the Iowa Utilities Board's choice to publicize MidAmerican's studies on the project is crucial to the people who will ultimately pay for it.

"Ratepayers deserve to know what kinds of investment decisions MidAmerican is making on their behalf," Williams contended. "And whether MidAmerican is truly planning for the carbon-free electricity system they've said that they're going to bring to customers."

MidAmerican has said Wind PRIME could generate 50 megawatts of solar power and more than 2,000 megawatts of wind energy, and is part of its commitment to provide net-zero emissions to its customers.

While Wind PRIME will reportedly produce additional solar and wind power for its customers, it will still fall back on coal as a secondary energy source, which Williams contended is not a true commitment to clean energy.

"If they were truly committed to delivering carbon-free electricity, they should probably be pursuing battery storage additions and should be making plans to retire their coal plants," Williams argued. "That's not what they're currently proposing to do."

Regulators have not given MidAmerican final approval to build Wind PRIME and there is no timeline on when a decision will be made.


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