Iowa town of Bloomfield strives for energy independence

Lake Fisher Park is just west of Bloomfield in Davis County (City of Bloomfield)

Nick Fetty | June 17, 2015

The small southeastern Iowa town of Bloomfield was recently featured in the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) blog for its efforts to achieve energy independence.

City officials in Bloomfield have worked with the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities (IAMU) on a geothermal project to power buildings in the town square. A study by the IAMU found that Bloomfield was capable of becoming a ”net-zero energy community” meaning that it would generate as much energy as it consumes.

In March, representatives from Bloomfield attended RMI’s  ”eLab Accelerator: A Bootcamp for Electricity Innovation,” a four-day work session which brought together 12 teams from across the country. During the session attendees discussed utilizing existing sources for energy production such as capturing methane gas from nearby hog lots.

“By utilizing our resources responsibly and keeping (and creating) energy dollars in our community, we intend to attract new energy initiatives that will create jobs and position us as a community for the 21st century,” said Doug Dixon, president of Bloomfield Main Street, a non-profit organization that aims to “(preserve and revitalize) the historic commercial district through business improvement, while maintaining and promoting the architectural, cultural, and economic heritage of the community.”

Last month the Corporation for National and Community Service announced Bloomfield was one of ten cities nationwide to be part of the agency’s new Operation AmeriCorps initiative. The initiative aims to reduce residential energy demand by five percent over the next two years. Bloomfield city officials hopes to achieve ”net-zero electric community” status by 2030.

Bloomfield is approximately 20 miles south of Ottumwa and has a population of 2,640.

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