The Iowa Office of Energy Independence is holding a series of public forums across the state to get input on its 2009 Energy Independence Plan. Roya Stanley, the director of the office, says they have three goals: optimizing development of the state’s renewable energy resources, getting business, government, agriculture and industry to find ways to become energy efficient, and the third goal focuses on how energy independence translates into economic viability.

"When people talk to me about ‘green’ and the green economy, I like to tell them that it’s really about green: environment green and money green," Stanley says, "and in order for us to move forward, what we do has to be both, it has to benefit both the environment and the economy, really, in order for us to have actual market transformation. That’s what will bring us jobs." Stanley says there are many ways to be more energy efficient.

Stanley says" "In some cases, in residences that may be as mundane as doing caulking and weather stripping, and adding insulation in the attic. It may also expand in to replacing your furnace with a high-efficiency furnace and your air conditioner as well, or you could use geothermal technology. In commercial buildings, you see kind of a ramp-up in the size of the equipment and et cetera."

The second of four forums was held in Council Bluffs last week. Stanley says she’s heard about a range of issues already. She says they’ve heard concerns about the local placement of wind turbines, and also the broader issue of policies that might actually advance further development.

The next forum is August 17th at one p.m. at the Iowa State Fair. And the last will be in Dubuque on August 27th at 5:30 p.m. The information from the forums will be used to put together the energy independence plant that’ll be given to the legislature.