Iowa Environmental Council and Partners Support Transmission for Renewables in Iowa Utilities Board Franchise Hearing

posted on Friday, December 13, 2019 in Energy News

Cardinal-Hickory Creek will deliver Iowa wind across the Midwest

Dubuque, IA -- The Iowa Environmental Council appeared before the Iowa Utilities Board this week in Dubuque, Iowa, to encourage the Board to approve the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line in order to facilitate more renewable energy development in Iowa. The proposed project would run from rural Dubuque County to the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin.

IEC submitted written testimony and participated in the Utilities Board hearing to address potential concerns with the transmission line’s location. Nathaniel Baer provided written testimony for IEC on the route of the line and its environmental suitability. IEC partnered with Clean Grid Alliance, the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, and Fresh Energy to provide additional expert testimony about the need for the project and its potential benefits for renewable energy.

“The Cardinal-Hickory Creek project would relieve congestion on the electric grid, particularly between Iowa and Wisconsin,” said Baer. “Adding transmission allows lower-cost, clean electricity resources, like Iowa wind, to be delivered to customers across the Midwest.”

“We are already facing a transmission capacity shortage in the Upper Midwest,” said Clean Grid Alliance Executive Director Beth Soholt. “Without the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line, some of the best wind resources in the region will be closed for business. Cardinal-Hickory Creek is necessary for delivering energy from existing wind farms.”

The proposal came out of a regional study of transmission and generation needs by the regional grid operator, MISO (the Midcontinent Independent System Operator). MISO’s study found that improving transmission across the region would ultimately reduce customer costs.

“The Cardinal-Hickory Creek line is the final piece of a set of projects that would allow Iowa to make better use of our wind resources and is the best, lowest-cost path forward for ratepayers in Iowa and across the Midwest,” said Michael Schmidt, IEC Staff Attorney. “Robust transmission will also allow Iowa to expand our renewable energy leadership further with both wind and solar.”  

Iowa has better wind resources than some neighboring states, including Wisconsin and Illinois, making it more cost-effective to generate wind power in Iowa. "Everybody deserves access to clean, renewable wind energy," stated Amelia Vohs, Staff Attorney at the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy. "Cardinal-Hickory Creek is an infrastructure project that will allow people across the Midwest to benefit from Iowa's tremendous wind resources."


  1. carbon pollution
  2. clean energy
  3. wind power