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February 5th, 2009

Iowa Gov: Alternative energy funding top priority

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Written by: The Iowa Republican

Despite a looming budget hole, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver called for the Legislature to stand by a $25 million annual commitment to alternative energy.

Culver, who made the Iowa Power Fund a centerpiece of his campaign for governor, said Wednesday he still believes strongly that alternative energy is a key to the state’s economy. He noted that Iowa ranks second nationally in wind energy production, behind only Texas.

“The number one priority will be reauthorizing the Power Fund,” said Culver. “That’s arguably the most important piece of legislation.”

The governor spoke after meeting with several students enrolled in the Iowa Lakes Community College Wind Energy and Turbine Technology program. The northwest Iowa college’s program, which has received money from the Power Fund, trains students in various aspects of wind farm building and maintenance.

Culver’s plan calls for spending $100 million on the Power Fund over four years. However, record flooding last spring and a deep recession this winter have tossed Iowa’s budget into disarray and forced Culver to reduce spending in most state program. The governor said he hopes the alternative energy program can be maintained.

“We made a four-year commitment,” said Culver. “Exactly how close we get to that $25 million is unclear given the budget challenges, but I think there’s a lot of support generally to continue to invest in the Power Fund.”

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