Last year, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad surrendered a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that would have been used to help cut costs and ease regulations on Iowans wanting to generate their own electricity. The grant was surrendered because of disagreement with the Iowa Utility Association, which represents Alliant Energy and Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s MidAmerican Energy.
Emails obtained by the Associated Press showed that Iowa utility lobbyists worked to pressure Iowa officials to amend the grant to study adverse effects of solar rather than how solar can be expanded to help customers – which resulted in the DOE grant’s termination.
This year, both Alliant and MidAmerican stayed stuck in their trenches due to the inability to change their outdated business model. The utility companies have been refusing to net-meter solar projects financed by third parities, according to Midwest Energy News. This policy was upheld last year by the state Supreme Court.
Josh Mandelbaum, a lawyer for the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said both utilities will not change their position and another court challenge will likely transpire.