Business

Iowa looks to develop energy plan

Will use to set priorities, guide decisions

The dome of the State Capitol building in Des Moines is shown on Tuesday, January 13, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
The dome of the State Capitol building in Des Moines is shown on Tuesday, January 13, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)

The Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Department of Transportation on Monday issued a request for proposals from bidders to assist in developing a state energy plan.

Iowa is one of 10 states that does not have a state energy plan, according to the National Association of State Energy Officials in Arlington, Va. At the end of 2014, 36 states had active energy plans and 18 states were updating or developing new state energy plans.

The Iowa Energy Office, which is housed in IEDA, has an internal strategic energy plan that is in the process of being updated.

A state energy plan assesses current and future energy supply and demand, examines existing energy policies, and identifies emerging energy challenges and opportunities, according to the national association.

The Iowa energy plan will encourage energy, economic and environmental benefits through the goals and recommendations that form during the planning process, according to a news release from IEDA and IDOT.

The state has set an Aug. 7 deadline to receive proposals from bidders. Once a provider is selected, working groups will be formed to provide input, review data and shape the goals and strategies of the energy plan.

The groups will focus in the areas of economic development and energy careers, Iowa’s energy resources, transportation and infrastructure, and energy efficiency and conservation.

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Other areas the working groups will consider include assessing energy workforce needs and requirements, leveraging Iowa’s biomass resources for development of biofuels and biorenewable chemicals, alternative fuels and movement of goods, energy assurance and security, and strategies to lower energy demand.

Five forums will be conducted across the state to gather public input for the Iowa energy plan.

The IEDA will be the lead agency overseeing development of the plan, Other state agencies and offices with energy-related functions will provide advice and information during the plan’s development.

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