Article

Culver Wants Iowa Power Fund to Have Flexibility

Gov. Chet Culver on March 29 outlined one of his key legislative proposals - the Iowa Power Fund. At stops in Cedar Rapids and Ankeny, the governor presented his vision for the future of renewable energy in Iowa, and laid out specific proposals to keep Iowa ahead in the race to become the renewable energy capital of the world. "Today, Iowa begins taking the lead in the race to become the energy capital of the world," said Culver. "Our $100 million Iowa Power Fund will allow Iowa to invest in and attract cutting edge research and development. "It will allow our state to be involved in commercialization of emerging technologies. It will allow existing companies to expand and grow to meet the needs of emerging markets. It will help us create the jobs of the future that will keep your kids and my kids here in Iowa where they belong. This effort is at the heart of the 21st Century Iowa Expedition I have called on all Iowans to join."

Gov. Chet Culver on March 29 outlined one of his key legislative proposals - the Iowa Power Fund. At stops in Cedar Rapids and Ankeny, the governor presented his vision for the future of renewable energy in Iowa, and laid out specific proposals to keep Iowa ahead in the race to become the renewable energy capital of the world.

"Today, Iowa begins taking the lead in the race to become the energy capital of the world," said Culver. "Our $100 million Iowa Power Fund will allow Iowa to invest in and attract cutting edge research and development.

"It will allow our state to be involved in commercialization of emerging technologies. It will allow existing companies to expand and grow to meet the needs of emerging markets. It will help us create the jobs of the future that will keep your kids and my kids here in Iowa where they belong. This effort is at the heart of the 21st Century Iowa Expedition I have called on all Iowans to join."

What the Iowa Power Fund would do

The Iowa Power Fund is a proposal the Culver administration wants the Legislature to pass this session. Culver made the Power Fund one of the centerpieces in his campaign for governor last year. In his two... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Gov. Chet Culver on March 29 outlined one of his key legislative proposals - the Iowa Power Fund. At stops in Cedar Rapids and Ankeny, the governor presented his vision for the future of renewable energy in Iowa, and laid out specific proposals to keep Iowa ahead in the race to become the renewable energy capital of the world.

"Today, Iowa begins taking the lead in the race to become the energy capital of the world," said Culver. "Our $100 million Iowa Power Fund will allow Iowa to invest in and attract cutting edge research and development.

"It will allow our state to be involved in commercialization of emerging technologies. It will allow existing companies to expand and grow to meet the needs of emerging markets. It will help us create the jobs of the future that will keep your kids and my kids here in Iowa where they belong. This effort is at the heart of the 21st Century Iowa Expedition I have called on all Iowans to join."

What the Iowa Power Fund would do

The Iowa Power Fund is a proposal the Culver administration wants the Legislature to pass this session. Culver made the Power Fund one of the centerpieces in his campaign for governor last year. In his two speeches last Thursday, the governor laid out the following specifics as to how the Power Fund would help Iowa take the lead in the renewable energy race.

* Create a new office focused on renewable energy and energy efficiency. The bill, if passed, would create a new office in state government, an Iowa Office of Renewable Energy or perhaps the Iowa Energy Independence Office. The office would promote research and development of new sources of renewable energy and encourage Iowans to be more energy efficient.

* How would the new office operate? It would be headed by a director who will coordinate the work of state government as it relates to renewable energy and energy efficiency. The director will have the flexibility and authority to work across all state agencies to position Iowa on the forefront of the bioeconomy.

* Purpose of the Iowa Power Fund. The Iowa Power Fund is a proposal for a $100-million investment by the state of Iowa to create the next generation bio-economy and ensure that Iowa stays in the lead for the race to become the renewable energy capital of the world.

* The Iowa Power Fund Board. A board would administer the fund. The board would be made up of experienced, knowledgeable and capable stakeholders and citizens with expertise in renewable energy, energy efficiency and financing. They would have the authority to make decisions about the most appropriate uses of the fund. The board would be appointed by the governor, confirmed by the Senate and subject to open meetings and open records law.

* Examples of how Iowa Power Fund could be used. One of the examples cited by the governor of what the Power Fund could support is development of closed loop methane technology. By placing a biorefinery next to a livestock operation, the refinery would use a byproduct of its work to feed the animals. For example, an ethanol plant would produce distillers grain that could be fed wet to the cattle feedlot next door.

And, with the use of an methane-digester, the livestock operation would also be able to turn manure into power to run the refinery, making a closed loop that produces less waste and a cleaner environment.

The Governor's first stop last Thursday took him to Clipper Windpower in Cedar Rapids, a company that constructs many of the wind turbines that can be seen across the state. Based in California, Clipper opened their Cedar Rapids facility in 2006 to be closer to the growing wind power industry in Iowa.

Later in the day, Culver traveled to Ankeny, where he presented his proposals to a classroom of students at the Energy Resource Station. A division of the Iowa Energy Center, the Ankeny facility is dedicated to supporting projects that help Iowans understand how they can make their homes more comfortable and affordable, while investing in initiatives that help Iowa industries and businesses run efficiently so they can be more productive and profitable.

Culver wants flexibility in Power Fund

Gov. Culver wants to give the board that would run the Iowa Power Fund wide latitude to spend the money on renewable energy projects, rather than have the Legislature carve up money among the initiatives. He proposes that the $100 million Power Fund be a four-year energy plan, with $25 million spent each year.

"It's time for Iowa to take the lead in the race to become the energy capital of the world," he said in his speech at Ankeny last week. "Iowa has the potential to become the next Silicon Valley here in the Midwest."

Culver was clearly aiming his comments at the Legislature when he said he wanted flexibility in how the Power Fund would be used to promote research and development of a variety of alternative energy sources, including biofuels and wind energy. The governor wants the fund to be directly overseen by his office by hiring a director of renewable energy and creating a board to make decisions about distributing the money.

"The fund should not be earmarked for specific projects at this point because over a period of time priorities will change and the board will need to adapt to the realities of the marketplace. Instead, that discretion should be given to the board," said Culver.

While the Legislature is likely to establish the Power Fund, Culver's spending plans for the fund are being resisted by lawmakers who have specific proposals for using the money. Decisions will have to be made fairly soon. The 2007 legislative session is scheduled to end a month from now.

Culver wants to get the four-year energy fund started immediately by using $25 million from this year's state surplus and then have the Legislature appropriate money to spend $25 million in each of the following three years.



Source: http://wallacesfarmer.com/i...

APR 3 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/8104-culver-wants-iowa-power-fund-to-have-flexibility
back to top