Des Moines Sets Carbon Emission Reduction Goals With Net Zero in 2050

The City Council of Des Moines, IA recently approved a resolution that sets a timeline for several milestones in the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources – along with a series of carbon emission goals. The goals include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% between 2010 and 2030, achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, and achieving 100% 24/7 carbon-free electricity by the year  2035. The gas emissions goals align with recommendations from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“We are proud of the leadership demonstrated by the council and mayor tonight in making Des Moines the first city in the U.S. to commit to 24/7 clean energy,” said Kerri Johannsen, energy program director for the Iowa Environmental Council. “That means no coal, no fracked gas, and no fossil fuels in the electricity delivered to Des Moines residents by 2035.”

The “24/7” term within the resolution means the grid must have carbon-free sources of power available all the time. That will require large investments into energy storage and action by MidAmerican Energy – the investor-owned utility that powers the city. MidAmerican Energy played a part in drafting the resolution and has committed to achieving 100% equivalent renewable electricity in the coming years.

The pledge is modeled after Google’s round-the-clock energy plan. That plan aims to sign additional power purchasing agreements (PPAs) that incorporate a mix of renewable resources, and align data center power needs with the regional availability of renewable energy.

“We have seen time and time again how local governments have the burden of dealing with extreme and more frequent events caused by weather and climate change,” Mayor Frank Cownie said. “We need to play a bigger role in sustainability, mitigation and adaptation.”