The nation's leading researchers are dedicating themselves to search for improved alternative energy sources. In Iowa, a national leader in alternative energy, there are now more than 1,000 working wind powered turbines that have been built across the state and researchers are exploring solar energy to add to Iowa's sustainable energy contribution.
Iowa State University Extension and its partnering organizations are holding a series of three meetings to discuss the topic of wind and solar energy. The public is invited to attend and listen and consult with the experts who will speak at each conference. Two of the three conferences will be held Feb. 3 at Melbourne in central Iowa and February 10 at Fort Dodge. In northwest Iowa, the meeting is scheduled for March 2 at Le Mars.
"These meetings will be of interest to farmers, business owners, school officials, homeowners and anyone else who has continuous electric needs and wants to generate their own power," says Kapil Arora, ISU Extension ag engineer and conference co-coordinator. "The speakers we have lined up will talk about and explain wind energy basics, and the availability of grants and zero interest loans to help finance your project. They'll also discuss wind generators and the legal aspects of wind energy contracts and will be glad to answer your questions."
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Central Iowa conferences: Bill Haman of the Iowa Energy Center and Erin Herbold of ISU's Agricultural Law Center at Ames will be the key speakers at these two conferences. Also speaking will be some early adopters of wind energy who will discuss applications for use on acreages, at schools and on-farm wind turbine use. A panel of representatives from utility companies serving the area will conclude the conference program.
The conference at Melbourne will be Feb. 3 at the Recreational Center in the town of Melbourne. The conference at Fort Dodge will be February 10 at the Webster County Extension office. The registration fee for either of these meetings, including lunch and workshop materials, is $30 for people registering up to two days before the conference. Late registrations will be $40. Walk-in registrations on the date of the conference will be accepted if space is available.
Registration forms can be obtained by calling the ISU Extension office. For the Melbourne meeting call the Marshall County office at 641-752-1551. For Fort Dodge call the Webster County office at 515-576-2119. Or go online to www.extension.iastate.edu/marshall or www.extension.iastate.edu/webster. Completed registration forms and fees should be sent to the county extension office hosting the conference: Marshall County for Melbourne and Webster County for the Fort Dodge location.
Northwest Iowa conference: The conference in northwest Iowa will be held March 2 at Le Mars in the Le Mars Convention Center, 275 12th Street SE from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Speakers from the Iowa Energy Center, USDA Rural Development Agency and Iowa State University will address various wind and solar energy topics, including legal considerations, planning and zoning, financing Iowa's wind and solar energy projects and utility company information.
Bill Haman of the Iowa Energy Center will speak. Other speakers include Aaron Chittenden of the City of West Des Moines, Erin Herbold of the ISU Center for Agricultural Law, Bill Menner of USDA Rural Development, Mark Reinders of Mid-American Energy Co., and entrepreneurs Gregg Heide and Paul Rekow.
To register, which includes lunch, the cost is $35 before Feb. 22; $45 after that date. You can register online and view the conference agenda and other information at www.extension.iastate.edu/plymouth. For more information, contact Carol Schneider at 712-546-7835.