The Iowa Energy Center (IEC) Board and the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) opened the fifth round of funding for the IEC Grant Program, which aims to promote energy-related economic development in Iowa. Funding for the program is provided by the state's gas and electric utilities, and Iowa businesses, colleges, universities, and private nonprofit agencies and foundations are eligible to apply. Project submissions must offer ratepayer benefits and support the goals and priorities set by the Iowa Energy Plan, including technology-based research and development, energy workforce development, support for rural and underserved areas, biomass conversion, natural gas expansion in underserved areas, electric grid modernization, alternative fuel vehicles, and carbon management.
In addition to the new round of grant funding, IEDA and IEC also awarded financial assistance to four innovative projects through the Energy Infrastructure Revolving Loan Program (EIRLP). The program offers low-interest loans to Iowa-based businesses, utilities, and individuals for projects that support energy generation, transmission, storage, and distribution. The four projects announced in February 2023 include a substation replacement to improve system reliability, a solar plus storage project at a local high school facility, and a solar canopy installation along a city bike trail. Another project, which was inspired by a research project conducted by a group of 5th and 6th graders, will use the loan to install solar on school buildings as well as a carport covering a school drop-off area. For more information about EIRLP, please visit iowaeda.com/iowa-energy-office/energy-loans, and for more details about the IEC Grant Program, please visit iowaeda.com/iowa-energy-office/grants.