• [ March 20, 2015 ]
  • Director of Iowa Energy Center Speaks to Iowa Senate and House Committees


Director of the Iowa Energy Center, Dr. Mark C. Petri , was recently invited to speak to both the Iowa Senate Economic Growth Committee and the Iowa House Commerce Committee . He gave remarks in regards to the Iowa Energy Center’s work in supporting economic development for Iowa as well as what the future holds for the Energy Center.

Dr. Petri reviewed the Energy Center’s 25 years of work in advancing the environmental, social, and economic well being of Iowans through improved energy efficiency measures and alternative energy technology.

“There are dozens of energy centers, mostly scattered among U.S. colleges, but there are none quite like the Iowa Energy Center—funded by the state with a statewide mission—and none, as far as I know, that were established so early. That pioneering and progressive thinking is something that Iowa should be proud of,” said Dr. Petri.

He covered the responsibilities the Energy Center has, including helping Iowa decrease its dependence on imported and non-renewable fuels; conducting and sponsoring research, demonstration, and educational projects on energy efficiency, conservation, and alternative energy systems; and assisting Iowans in assessing energy production and energy efficiency technologies. With these key aims in mind, the Energy Center has established four program areas: energy efficiency , renewable energy , bioenergy , and education and outreach .

“Today the Energy Center is on a path that is generating higher-quality results, reaching more people, benefiting a wider range of Iowa organizations, and having greater and more quantifiable impact than ever before,” said Dr. Petri.

Dr. Petri addressed how the “binding cord” of the Energy Center’s mission objectives and the goal of the program areas are centered on economic development . This is the theme that is now guiding program priorities and ways to quantify success.

“Economic growth, as the committee knows, stems from a robust economic development eco-system that has components in both the public and private sectors. The recent 2014 Battelle Report and the emphasized this when they assessed metrics such as business climate, access to venture capital, and educational attainment,” said Dr. Petri.

The Energy Center is targeting four pillars of economic development: innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialization, workforce development, and educated citizenry. These economic development target areas are linked to the Energy Center’s four program areas through specific initiatives, which include:

  • Managing the state’s low-interest revolving loan program for alternative energy production.
  • Supporting technology development through facilities in both Nevada and Ankeny that provide infrastructure for university researchers and private-sector entrepreneurs. Here they can test and scale new bioenergy and building efficiency technologies to take them closer to commercialization and make them more attractive to venture capital and industry investment.
  • Providing training and education by offering technician training and supplying objective and reliable information to Iowans on energy options.
  • Offering competitive grants to Iowa colleges, universities, and nonprofits for research, technology development, education, workforce development, and community development projects.

The new grant programs have done exceedingly well in terms of return on investment. They support everything from energy research, technology development, demonstration, deployment, education, workforce development, and community development. Below, are two recent success stories.

In 2013 the Energy Center created three new grant programs that are explicitly designed to make Iowa organizations more competitive in securing large, sustainable investment for the state from federal agencies and other sponsors. They support everything from energy research, technology development, demonstration, deployment, education, workforce development, and community development. The new programs have done exceedingly well in terms of return on investment.

Petri reported, “Since July 2013 when we first implemented our new grant programs, approximately $6.8 million of new external funding has been captured by our Iowa partners. For every dollar spent under our new grant programs in fiscal year 2014, Iowa brought back $4.60. These resources are doing real good in furthering innovation and community development in the state.”

The Energy Center is now partnering with other Iowa organizations to develop new initiatives that will more directly target entrepreneurship, business development, workforce development, and K-12 education.

Petri concluded, “The Energy Center is bringing new investment to the state, high-quality innovative research and development, a boost to entrepreneurship, opportunities for commercialization, and soon new programs targeting statewide student education and workforce development.”

To Learn More


The Iowa Energy Center has been actively serving Iowans since 1990. We support economic growth through collaborative projects that bring smart and sustainable energy technologies closer to market and by providing Iowans with reliable, objective information on energy and efficiency options.

We are your resource for relevant energy news and updates , upcoming events , competitive grants , and funding opportunities.


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