The Obama administration's ambitious plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants will likely lead to higher electric bills in Iowa, but drastic changes may not be needed because the state's utilities have invested heavily in wind power.
Under the proposed rules announced Monday, Iowa would have to reduce its carbon emissions by 16 percent by 2030. That's less than the goal for a 30 percent reduction nationwide.
Officials at Iowa utilities and state agencies said they'll have to review the details of the proposed regulations before they know exactly how the state will be affected.
Regi Goodale, director of regulatory affairs for the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, said one thing is clear: Electricity will get more expensive because of this ambitious target for reducing carbon emissions.
"We believe these rules will likely increase electric bills. It's just a question of how much," Goodale said.
But Iowa may be in a fairly good position to comply with the regulations because of previous efforts, said Mark Douglas, president of the Iowa Utility Association, which represents investor-owned utilities.
Iowa already gets one-quarter of its electricity from wind energy, and the state's largest utility, MidAmerican Energy, is building hundreds more wind turbines that should be able to supply another 1,050 megawatts of power by the end of 2015.
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