Culver Introduces Energy Plan to Legislature

Iowa governor releases detailed energy proposal for state.

Last week Governor Chet Culver announced his proposal to reduce Iowa's dependence on imported oil and improve energy efficiency across the state.

"I believe now is Iowa's time to be the national leader when it comes to securing a clean energy future, and my energy proposal will help us do just that," said Culver. "This legislation will assure Iowa's continued leadership in energy conservation efforts and renewable energy. I look forward to working with the Legislature to pass this initiative quickly to ensure Iowa stays at the forefront of the green energy revolution."

The governor's proposal, which he says he developed with the input of Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge, covers three main components:

* Sets a new renewable energy standard of 25% by the year 2025. "Iowa has long been a leader in renewable energy, he says. "We were one of the first states in the nation to establish a renewable energy standard; in 1990 lawmakers set the goal of having 2% of Iowa's energy come from renewable sources. We have long since passed that and we are now at about 7.5%."

A goal of 25% of Iowa's energy from renewable sources by 2025 has been endorsed not only by the Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and the Iowa Soybean Association. But also, he notes, by such national organizations as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the American Farmland Trust, the American Wind Energy Association, Deere and Company, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, the Governors Ethanol Coalition, the National Association of Counties, the National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

* Gives the Iowa Utilities Board the authority to establish an energy efficiency standard of 1.5%. The IUB is given the authority and responsibility to work with each individual utility--whether investor owned, municipal or co-op--in assessing their energy efficiency goal. A utility's energy efficiency program may be produced by the utility or produced by a third party contracted by the utility or may be a plan offered to the utility by the IUB. The IUB may also approve pooled plans which would be shared by multiple utilities.

* Establishes a commission on energy efficiency standards. Housed within the Department of Public Safety's Office of the Building Code Commissioner, this commission would :

--Evaluate energy efficiency standards applicable to existing or newly constructed residential, commercial and industrial buildings and suggest improvement and enforcement.

--Develop recommendations for new energy efficiency standards.

--Establish incentives for energy efficiency construction projects which exceed current building codes.

--Adopt a statewide energy efficiency building labeling or rating system for residential, commercial and industrial buildings.

Culver released his proposal while attending the National Governor's Association annual winter meeting in Washington, D.C. last week, where renewable energy was a main focus of discussions.

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