Calling on the nation to explore the renewable energy frontier, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver last week urged Congress and the new incoming Obama-Biden Administration to take five key steps in order to further develop alternative energy, create new green-collar jobs, and move towards energy independence.
Gov. Culver delivered the keynote address in Washington, D.C. to the "Renewable Energy in America National Policy Forum"--sponsored by the American Council on Renewable Energy.
"There is a renewable energy frontier open before us, and we must explore it immediately," said Culver. "Doing so will help us address the climate crisis, free our country from foreign sources of energy, create millions of green-collar jobs nationwide, and put us on a path toward energy independence."
More federal action needed on green energy
The Iowa governor called on the administration and Congress to address five important issues starting in January:
- Repair and modernize the nation's transmission system to increase capacity and better allow for energy produced in one state to be moved to areas of demand;
- Implement a five-year extension of the Wind Production Tax Credit to help establish wind energy as a permanent component of a national energy strategy;
- Establish a national Renewable Portfolio Standard, which was first established in Iowa in 1990, to increase utilities' sales of renewable energy, open new markets, and encourage research and development;
- Work with automakers to produce and sell more flex-fuel vehicles, and with petroleum marketers to provide more flex-fuel pumps nationwide;
- Develop a national plan for energy independence that puts a greater emphasis on research and development, as well as energy efficiency.
Culver also urged passage of the New Energy for America plan proposed by President-elect Obama and which would create up to five million new jobs by investing $150 billion in clean energy over the next 10 years. "A national commitment to energy independence will create the good, high-paying green-collar jobs of the future, just when we need them the most," says Culver.
The Iowa governor, who co-chairs the Governors' Wind Energy Coalition, also spoke about how Iowa has become a leader in renewable energy, including:
- Creating a cabinet-level Office of Energy Independence
- Developing the $100 million Iowa Power Fund to support cutting edge projects
- Producing 30% of the nation's ethanol and 25% of the nation's biodiesel
- Supporting research and development of next generation biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol
- Being one of only two states in the nation to manufacture the three main components of windmills
- Creating the Iowa Green Corps to help people conserve energy at home
- Supporting the Iowa Stored Energy Park, so that wind is no longer an intermittent power source
"These things happened because Iowans decided to be bold," says Culver. "Iowans feel we have a responsibility to follow in the footsteps of those pioneers who came before us, like George Washington Carver, Henry Wallace and Norman Borlaug." While in Washington, Culver also met with Steve Preston, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to discuss Iowa's ongoing recovery needs following last summer's floods and storms.