Iowa considers state energy plan

Data from the American Wind Energy Association shows that Iowa leads the nation in percentage of electricity generated from wind energy: 28 percent in 2014. (Bill Whittaker/Wikipedia)

Nick Fetty | July 8, 2015

Iowa is one of just ten states that does not have its own state energy plan but that could soon change.

On Monday the Iowa Economic Development Authority along with the Iowa Department of Transportation released a request for qualifications (RFQ) to find potential candidates to help state leaders develop an energy plan. The plan will assess current and former energy supply and demand in the state, examine currently existing programs and policies, and identify potential challenges and opportunities.

Once a bidder is chosen for this project, working groups will be formed to help develop the plan. The groups will focus on four main categories: Economic Development and Energy Careers, Iowa’s Energy Resources, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Energy Efficiency and Conservation. The groups will also address several subtopics including assessing energy workforce needs/ requirements from an industry perspective, leveraging Iowa’s biomass resources for development of biofuels and biorenewable chemicals, alternative fuels and movement of goods, energy assurance/security and strategies to lower energy demand. Additionally, five energy forums will also be hosted across the state as a way to get public input on energy issues.

Data compiled by the Iowa Energy Office shows that the Hawkeye State ranks 11th nationally for energy efficiency, 2nd nationally for wind energy generation, and was responsible for producing over 25 percent of the nation’s ethanol.

Interested bidders must submit their qualification before August 7 to be considered for this project.

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.

Deceased Pella engineer’s donation helps fund renewable energy at state parks

Photo by iamuday, Flickr.

Chris Desjardins’ post-mortem donation to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will help fund green-energy projects at some state parks.

Desjardins was an engineer for Pella Corporation who passed away in 2009.

With the help of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, IJOBS and the Resource Enhancement and Protection Fund, Desjardins’ donation will fund a $1.1 million project that includes renewable energy sources such as wind turbines and geothermal systems.

Read more from the Des Moines Register here.