A new study says Iowa would benefit if an energy bill passed by the U-S Senate becomes law. The measure would make private utilities generate 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by the year 2020. Steve Clemmer is an energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists. He says the whole Midwest is “blessed” with plenty of wind, and biomass energy and they figured out that Iowa would develop more renewable energy sources than strictly required to meet the new standard. Iowa producers of that excess energy could then sell the credits to other states.That would be economic development, especially for farmers in rural areas that have most of those resources. He points to a biomass project in the Chariton valley in southeast Iowa using switchgrass to replace coal at an Ottumwa power plant. He says another example’s a manure digesting system that will extract methane and burn it to make electricity. Clemmer says the nonprofit environmental group backs the version of the bill passed in the U-S Senate. He says the House version doesn’t include the renewable-energy provisions, backed by Iowa’s Senators and many of its Representatives, too. Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle sits on the conference committee assigned to reconciling House and Senate versions of the energy bill.
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