College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Planning Iowa’s energy future  

Anson Marston Distinguished Professor James McCalley is working on a state funded project to provide visions for strengthening and evaluating Iowa’s power grid. McCalley, along with research professor Colin Christy and two grad students formed a Project Advisory Board comprised of 24 stakeholders including investor-owned, cooperative and municipal utilities, regional transmission organizations and members of various Iowa agencies to provide Iowa with an energy vision for the future.  

“What we want is to provide five visions for the future of Iowa energy,” McCalley said. “The first is cost minimization: keeping costs the same or even lowering them. The second is emphasizing CO2 reduction and moving toward a larger percentage of renewable energy. The third vision is expanding Iowa’s energy export to neighboring states and regions, and the fourth is making sure our power grid is resilient to more frequent extreme weather events. A fifth one will seek to balance features from the first four visions.”  

McCalley said the ultimate goal of the project is to provide the state with 25-year development strategies to position Iowa’s low-carbon infrastructure to perform well under normal and climate-influenced extreme events and conditions, helping Iowans to make informed decisions on the state’s energy future.