IOWA: THE GREEN STATE
IOWA: THE GREEN STATE
Iowa’s energy future is at the mercy of price-gouging oil companies and volatile foreign governments. But Iowa is uniquely positioned to break their stranglehold on our economy. Iowa has energy alternatives – corn-based ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, soy-based diesel, biomass, and wind energy - that can create thousands of good jobs, ease the burden on middle-class pocketbooks, and provide more national security through less reliance on foreign oil.
Democrats will work aggressively to create new business opportunities and good jobs while lowering energy costs for Iowa families, farmers, and small businesses. We will bring together the best academic, research, and business minds to give us direction on alternative energy policies. Our goal is to establish Iowa as “The Green State” – nationally and internationally recognized for its energy leadership.
Our “Plan for Prosperity” will:
1. Develop the nation’s first bio-refinery for the next generation of ethanol technology.
Iowa is competing with states like New York, Kansas, Wisconsin, and Nebraska that are offering significant incentives to develop their cellulosic initiatives. Iowa needs to take immediate action to stay ahead of other states and assure that Iowa is a leader in this new opportunity.
Leadership and direction from the best and brightest individuals from business and industry, trade organizations and our research universities is crucial to our success. Recently, Iowa State University assembled 442 leaders for a “Call to Action Summit” to develop policy recommendations to assure that Iowa will benefit from the emerging technologies in biorenewables. The report from this summit will contribute substantially to our efforts in this area. Also, input from organizations like BIOWA on direction needed, and funding necessary, has provided input to our plan.
We have initially identified a need for investments of $65.5 million over three years to accomplish this objective:
a) Create financial incentives to assist in commercializing existing and new technologies and bringing new technologies to market.
b) Support research and development of:
· Advanced technologies that will improve the efficiency in the conversion of biofuels
· Feedstock logistics to develop efficient and sustainable cropping, production, storage, and transport of feedstock
· Sustainability and viability of bioenergy and biobased products and their effects on the soil, air, water, and wildlife
· Socio-economic impact to assure that developments of the bioeconomy positively effect Iowa and its rural communities
c) Invest in education and training of our workforce who will help build, manage and operate the new bioeconomy
d) Advance a public/private partnership to commercialize alternative fuels to encourage local and small investor participation; increase involvement and investment by public and private investments; and ensure that a global view is taken
2. Significantly increase the amount of electricity generated from renewable energy sources.
We propose developing a State Energy Plan for Iowa. Iowa is providing leadership in wind energy. We need to continue in this direction. But there are many other opportunities that will help make Iowa more energy independent, and we need to take a comprehensive look at how to increase the use of renewable energy in Iowa.
The plan would include consideration of all potential renewable energy sources, including geothermal, methane/waste technologies, green building techniques and energy conservation initiatives. Guidance would be guided by a taskforce made up of public/private organizations and individuals, including: Utilities Board, Iowa Energy Center, Iowa energy companies, DNR, RECs, Municipal Utilities, ISOSWO, and Iowa Environmental Council to develop and provide input to the plan.
The plan would include, but not be limited to, the following components:
· Assessment of current energy resources and existing infrastructure
· Energy conservation recommendations for incorporating “Green building” techniques into new construction and renovations for public buildings and incentives for use in new construction and renovation of private buildings
· A statewide recycling plan, including innovative technologies to convert waste into energy, to capture methane, and to divert waste from landfills
· Recommendations for expansion of wind and other renewable energy in Iowa
· The plan will include recommendations for coordinating existing public/private resources to best achieve our renewable energy goals over the next 25 years
· Recommendations for coordinating existing public/private resources to best achieve our renewable energy goals over the next 25 years
3. Make Iowa a national leader in the manufacturing of equipment and technology for the production of alternative energy.
Much of the equipment installed in ethanol plants in Iowa is shipped in from other states and other nations. Iowa needs to be a leader in the manufacture the equipment that will be installed in the renewable energy and alternative energy facilities of the future.
Last year, the legislature added alternative and renewable energy as a targeted industry in the Iowa Values Fund. That will allow alternative energy equipment manufacturers to qualify for Iowa Values Fund incentives. We need to assure that we provide enough resources to fund qualifying projects.
We must also assure that we have a well-trained workforce. We need to assure adequate resources through the Iowa Values Fund to develop workforce training in the field of alternative and renewable energy at our community colleges and regents universities.
4. Create a public/private partnership to commercialize alternative fuels research and technology.
5. Secure Iowa’s food supply against infectious diseases and bio-terrorism.
Iowa has made progress in identifying potential problems in its food supply with construction of two new hygienic laboratories. We need to assure that Iowa’s departments of Agriculture, Public Health, Public Safety, and Homeland Security and Emergency Management are working together to adequately identify potential problems, respond to emergencies, and identify future threats to our crops and our people.