The Iowa Energy Center in Ames is about to hand out some money. One of the people who gets to do that job is Bill Harman, manager of the center’s Alternate Energy Revolving Loan Program. Harman says the Center has its own researchers with their own staff and facility, but also funds researchers at Iowa’s colleges, universities, and private nonprofits to work in the fields of energy-efficiency and renewable energy and is principally a “grantee” organization. Its startup funding came from a tax on sales of gas and electricity, and the program has financed 38 projects across the state. The loan program uses about five-point-7 million dollars to leverage around 93-million in new renewable-energy projects, and its zero-percent loans are paid back over loan periods ranging from three to 20 years. Another of Harman’s job titles is “Industrial Program Manager,” and includes reviewing the many applications that come in. Not all are approved — he says one applicant proposed building a rooftop solar collector system. A system like that would cost 10- or 20-thousand dollars but this application was for 200-thousand, and when Haman asked why the applicant responded that he had to build a new house for the array to sit on. That one was turned down. But a small operation may well qualify for a grant from the Energy Center, long as it’s built within the borders of Iowa. He says projects range from something as small as a corn-burning furnace up to multi-million-dollar ethanol plants. Harman says Iowa farmers with big livestock operations have used the loan program to install wind turbines to help cut their high power bills. The Energy Center is going over proposals for eight new projects requesting a little under two-Million dollars total. Since the program’s inception in 1996 it’s had only two projects default, so money is repaid and can be used for another round of alternative-energy plans. For more on the center and its support of alternative energy, surf to