A study released Thursday claims investments made by the Iowa Power Fund have brought nearly $370 million in outside investment to the state over the past three years. The numbers are coming out just as some Republican lawmakers are zeroing in on the fund for possible cuts.
Through September of this year, the Power Fund invested around $38 million in 31 projects designed to develop Iowa’s sources of alternative energy, such as biofuels, wind and solar. The report, commissioned by the Iowa Office of Energy Independence, shows the investments will have resulted in the creation of 430 new jobs by the end of 2011.
The chair of the Iowa Power Fund, Fred Hubbell, says jobs were not the issue when the fund was established in 2007. “The statute was passed with the express purpose of making sure Iowa had leadership in wind, leadership in biomass, leadership in biofuels bioenergy industries in the future, not just in the year 2007,” Hubbell said. He says the point was to make Iowa a leader in alternative energy. “The Power Fund is a long-term investment in the future of the state. It’s not just a short-term investment for jobs today,” Hubbell said. “We all need more jobs, but we’re going to need jobs in the future. And we don’t want other states to get the new technology we don’t get.”
The study projects anywhere from 8,500 to 22,000 permanent jobs will be added to the state’s green energy economy over the next 20 years. The legislature has appropriated $95 million for the Power Fund. Republican House Speaker-elect Kraig Paulsen has said the fund is first on his list of program budget cuts when the new session begins in January.