A coalition of renewable energy advocates in Iowa has released details on a plan that will promote renewable energy in the state and create thousands of jobs.
The Iowa Renewable Energy Jobs 2020 (IREJ2020) represents the combined efforts of more than 30 organizations and businesses. Its goal is “to create 20,000 jobs as well as save consumers $1 billion annually by 2020 through investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and transportation initiatives.”
The state is already a big supporter of renewable energy; 20 percent of its electricity comes from wind turbines, solar panels and other renewable energy sources. But the IREJ2020 seeks to double that percentage in the next 8 years.
Kimberly Dickey is the president of the Iowa Renewable Energy Association board of directors. According to Dickey, “Iowa needs to expand energy efficiency programs for all utilities and diversify its renewable electricity sources,” Dickey said. “Iowans need to receive a fair price for generating renewable electricity for the grid. We need to dramatically reduce the public health and environmental costs of fossil fuels.”
Dickey said the state also needs to make a firm stand when it comes to special ratepayer financing for new new nuclear power plants.
The details of the IREJ2020 were discussed at a conference on Tuesday. Local renewable energy enthusiasts and installers were able to put their two cents in regarding the plan. Local installer Steve Fugate likes that the initiative will throw a safety line to people worried about the growing energy crisis.
“Once you’re out of water, it’s a little late to start conserving,” Fugate said at the conference. “We’re trying to get ahead of the curve a little and to create a coalition that can funnel the energy of people who feel anxiety about what’s to come.”