The Renewable Energy-Water Quality Nexus Project

Recognizing Renewable Energy and Biomass As Drivers of Economic Development

In December 2016, Governor Kim Reynolds unveiled Iowa's first comprehensive energy plan which identified 15 objectives and 45 strategies for Iowa's energy future. Iowa is uniquely positioned as a national leader in wind, ethanol, and biodiesel production. As a highly productive agricultural state, Iowa is also well positioned to reap economic and environmental benefits by further realizing the value-added potential of plant and animal biomass in the development of energy, biofuels, and biochemicals.

Iowa recognizes energy as a key resource of strategic importance to the state's economy and economic development efforts. Iowa's renewable energy leadership and diverse portfolio of affordable and reliable energy help attract new businesses to the state, as evidenced by technology companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Facebook. Iowa's future expansion into renewable energy and biomass will have benefits for Iowa's water quality and rural development and is an important component of the Conservation Infrastructure (CI) initiative. 

The CI Strategy Working Group is advancing the "Renewable Energy - Water Quality Nexus" project, led by Brian Selinger of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). The three main components of the project relate directly to Iowa's Renewable Energy Strategy: 

a.  Anaerobic Digester Life Cycle Cost Analysis - Create a business plan and financial model for cost analysis of anaerobic digestion that considers the unique characteristics of Iowa's bio-renewable resources. 
b.  Biomass Asset Mapping - Identify strategic locations for anaerobic digesters that have the presence of ample biomass resources, established livestock operations, natural gas infrastructure within target watersheds, etc.
c.  Catalyze Biomass Efforts - Promote and fund research, development, and commercialization of biomass technology to benefit the state economically and environmentally by further realizing the value-added attributes of biomass in the development of bioenergy, biofuels, and bio-chemicals.

IEDA is identifying support and expansion for a natural gas infrastructure build-out to rural communities. IEDA led the development of the Iowa Biomass Conversion Action Plan which will help to guide implementation efforts. This CI project will help demonstrate how Iowa's energy plan provides a framework for continued success and will help to ensure an affordable, clean, reliable and sustainable energy future for Iowa while improving Iowa's water quality.