Representatives of the “renewable” energy industry are in Des Moines to lobby legislators. Amber Hard of the Iowa Public Interest Research Group says they’re asking lawmakers to boost the amount of “alternative” energy utility companies must produce.Hard says Iowa spends 300-million dollars annually to import electricity. She says boosting the number of wind turbines and fields growing switchgrass that’s burned to produce energy would bring thousands of jobs into the state. Hard says Iowa is the perfect place to grow the industry as we have the land and the wind.Governor Tom Vilsack yesterday set a goal of having a five-fold increase in the amount of “renewable” energy produced in Iowa, and he suggests the state invest in the industry. Hard’s coalition is seeking a law that’d force utilities to spend money, rather than the state.Hard says their idea is getting a good response from legislators because it doesn’t cost the state any money, but she admits lawmakers are reluctant to “mandate” or require utilities to invest in alternative energy rather than traditional coal- or natural gas-fired power plants.
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