Op-Ed: Gov. Reynolds: Iowa’s fields hold untapped energy potential

Source: By Kim Reynolds, Des Moines Register • Posted: Thursday, July 6, 2017

Iowans are resourceful.

For decades, our state has used that resourcefulness to become a leader in energy innovation.

From adopting the nation’s first renewable portfolio standard in the early 1980s to investing in biofuels, Iowa has long been a trailblazer in the energy sector.

Today, 37 percent of our state’s electricity comes from wind power, and Iowa tops every other state in biodiesel, ethanol and now, cellulosic ethanol production.

Impressive. But in Iowa, we don’t stop. We’re constantly searching for what’s next. We know there’s still untapped potential in our richest natural resource — our fields.

That was one of the drivers behind the Iowa Energy Plan.

One of the 45 strategies that emerged from that 18-month effort was the recommendation to further explore biomass conversion.

Biomass conversion would turn discard (byproducts of our state’s crop and livestock production like animal manure and corn stalks) into new discovery (biofuels, biochemicals and bioenergy.)

Iowans have supported the effort to take a big picture look at our state’s energy needs. The collaboration we saw on the Iowa Energy plan is not unusual here. We know the results are always better when we work together to find common ground, priorities and solutions.

That’s why I was honored to present to President Donald Trump at a White House energy event last Wednesday. I shared about Iowa’s leadership in renewable energy initiatives and emphasized the importance of a diversified energy portfolio.

I also heard the president’s vision for the United States’ energy industry. He understands how critical it is to the economy and future economic growth.

President Trump wants to unleash our nation’s energy potential, celebrate American production on American soil and remove roadblocks keeping the U.S. from energy dominance.

As governor of Iowa, I look forward to continued state and federal collaborations that capitalize on our energy advantages.

KIM REYNOLDS is governor of Iowa.