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“Our dependency on fossil fuels for energy and transportation is burning a hole in the pocket of consumers in Iowa,” said Sonia Ashe, Advocate for Iowa PIRG. “We have enormous opportunities to produce homegrown energy that costs less and creates quality jobs here in Iowa.”
Iowans paid $13.8 billion last year in energy and transportation costs – over twice what was paid a decade ago. With the price of gasoline on the rise, transportation costs make up the lion’s share of total energy expenditures.
Reaching 20% improvement in vehicle fuel efficiency by 2020 alone would save Iowans $1.6 billion per year in the cost of gas. That is just the beginning of potential cost savings.
“Iowa’s youngest generation has already begun to leave the car at home and use alternative options,” said Barb Andersen, Public Transportation Policy and Planning Manager at the Downtown Community Alliance. “This is a transportation problem that we can’t just pave our way out of. We need to prioritize better options like passenger rail, walk-able and bike-able cities, or more fuel efficient vehicles.”
Iowa is already a global leader in renewable energy with 20% of our total energy produced by wind power. The majority of wind turbines used to produce that power are designed, manufactured, transported, installed, and maintained by workers here in Iowa – providing between 6,000-7,000 jobs.
“We’ve seen the benefits in job creation and economic development that renewable energy can bring to Iowa. But we are far from reaching our full potential,” said Robert Mulqueen, former Senior Policy Analyst for the Iowa Department of Economic Development. “Iowa should be known for growing energy with wind, solar, and biomass just as we are known for growing corn.”
Aside from renewable energy production - energy efficiency programs continue to be the best way for Iowa to create jobs, save money, and reduce our total energy needs. It is estimated that saving just 1.5% of electricity through energy efficiency programs would result in up to 4,473 net jobs.
“Beyond our immediate goals for job creation and cutting costs – this is about moving Iowa towards a prosperous, clean, and energy secure future for generations to come,” said Susan Guy with Iowa Interfaith Power and Light. “We are excited to work with decision-makers across the political spectrum to both realize these goals, and fulfill our shared vision for Iowa.”
Iowa Renewable Energy Jobs 2020 is a coalition of organizations and businesses that support energy and transportation solutions that create jobs and cut energy costs. For more information, please visit: www.irej2020.org.
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