Des Moines, Iowa – The Iowa Utilities Board is working to update its power transmission plan.
In July 2021, the Iowa Utilities Board, or “IUB,” issued an executive order opening an investigation into a “comprehensive statewide plan for Iowa’s future transmission grid,” inviting comments from various parties.
The research and subsequent workshop were part of the review of IUB’s legal authority and responsibility regarding electrical transmission planning in Iowa. During the workshop discussion, IUB examined how and to what extent utilities create a master plan – not just for themselves but for the entire state of Iowa – and discussed the Utilities Board’s role in overseeing and evaluating the master plan .
IUB and its staff have reviewed the bylaws, IUB rules and powers for both generation and transmission in Iowa. The statute was written at a time when coal and natural gas plants were the norm and was last updated in the late 1970s, before the advent of renewable power generation.
IUB tells us that there are several targets for the INU transmission investigation list, including:
· Review of the legal requirements set forth in the Iowa Code for all new and renewed concessions awarded by IUB for transmission projects
· Clarify the knowledge, transparency and participation of landowners and the general public in the process, as their property interests are at stake
· Provide county and local governments with visibility into power generation and transmission projects planned across the state
· Providing knowledge and transparency on related generation and transmission projects; Transmission owners are currently seeking outstanding domain after many years of working on a specific route or corridor with limited updates or transparency to local officials, landowners or tenants
· Understand the Iowa Authority and the State of Iowa Master Plan as required for Iowa Code Chapter 478 transfer franchise listings.
IUB says the Iowa transmission owners have the best information available to support the necessary determinations that the legislature has required IUB to make. In addition, transferees will have the best information available to respond to landowner concerns, avoid any appearance of underplanning and prepare for future growth, which will require a coordinated effort by industry and IUB.
IUB officials say it is imperative that all parties involved understand what the “Master Plan” in the Iowa Code refers to. IUB looks forward to working with industry and stakeholders.