Iowa has instituted one of the country’s most aggressive energy efficiency and renewable energy campaigns. By 2010, state agencies must begin purchasing 10% of their electricity from renewable sources, and reduce overall energy consumption by 15%. (1) Last night we visited in Vining at the CSA Hall with Tama County green technology pioneers. Here are some of the updates they shared publicly:
- Renewable Power Markets: Kirk Kraft shared that the Vienna Windpower farm development project (150MW) is in the process of signing options for easements with landowners to start building trust and relationships locally. 1/3 of this wind farm could overlap into western Tama County. Wind Energy development sector is still very soft and recovering from the recession so it’s a buyers market on equipment. Delays in timelines are inevitable.
- Dysart Trucking & Petersen Trucking: Randy Winkelpleck and Chuck Petersen echoed sentiment that the market has not normalized yet and they have excess capacity at their tower lay-down site in Dysart. They are also a top name in tower hauling nationally for companies like GE, Mitsubishi, Gemsa, Clipper, and Suzion with their innovation of a trailer that is 50% lighter, can make tighter turns, with minimum strain on the tower.
- Traer Municipal Utilities: Pat Stief explained their interest in researching alternative energy and specifically wind investment as a hedging strategy looking out for the long-term cost stabilization solutions.
- Meskwaki Alternative Energy: Tom Gearing shared that the Tribe successfully secured a grant to erect a meteorological wind testing tower on the Settlement. They expect to make their final contractor selection by the end of August 2010, and (optimistically) have the tower installed by October. Investigating alternative technology is an important part of the Tribe’s big picture development philosophy.
- Ag Bio-Power: Sam Thiessen & Joe Thiessen, shared that their clean burning gasification invention is in the demonstration phase and slated to be installed on the University of Iowa campus for additional research in the near future. This University partnership is building trust in the reliability of the research, taking the burden of grant administration off their shoulders, and also helping clear red tape in an evolving new market. Local corn seed companies will be providing their discarded byproduct to be used as bio fuel during this next phase.
- American Alternative Energy Inc: Pete Holden’s residential wind energy prototype is ready to be tested in more rigorous conditions. He is also in the patenting phase. The unique selling proposition of his invention at this time could be the ability to generate electricity at an even lower wind speed than is currently on the market.
- Iowa State University: Mark Reinig explained that CIRAS offers technical assistance to technology innovators, manufacturing plant layout, streamlining efficiency, etc.
- Hawkeye Community College: Ray Beets shared that two new energy related programs will be developed this year, a one year diploma level Sustainable Construction focusing on energy efficient green construction techniques and a two-year associate degree program titled Alternative Energy Technology program.
- Tama County Land Owners Association: Nick Podhajsky and Keith Sash reported that progress on the Salt Creek Wind farm development project (300MW) in Central Tama County seems to be ahead of schedule. This may be due to the fact that the landowners formed this cohesive group negotiating, researching and doing due diligence as a limited liability partnership.
- Representative from Congressman Leonard Boswell: Greg Johnson expressed that the Congressman is very interested in green technology development.
- Iowa Innovation Gateway: Kim Didier shared info on regional programs like Open Clean Tech with resources for connecting green tech entrepreneurs to grants, mentors and venture capitalists.
- Tama County Economic Development: Lindi Roelofse shared the three year federally funded road plan to optimize allocation of road repair schedule in light of the possibility that two wind farms may be doing heavy hauling in the near future. Also shared updated resources and info for innovators that may be able to make use of incentive programs from Iowa Office of Energy Independence.
Photo (clockwise): Mayor Don Lyons, Chair, Nick Podhajsky, Past Chair, Carl Zoffka, Merle Parks, Ray Beets, Randy Winklepleck, Chuck Petersen, Dwayne Luze, Kirk Kraft, Midge Horton, 2nd Vice Chair, Dale Stout, Larry Vest, Nancy Braasch, Tom Gearing, Keith Sash, Mandy Gehring, Pete Holden, Pat Stief, Ellen Young, Sam Young, Ardene Cross, Mark Reinig, Arlene Vondracek, Gerry Kopriva, Kim Didier, Lindi Roelofse.
Out of View: Greg Johnson, Brian Sokol, Sam Thiessen, Joe Thiessen, Joanne Husak.