WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Burlington Renewable Energy Committee

Nov 30, 2012

This week’s guest is Jerry Parks, who is the chairman of the Burlington Renewable Energy Committee.  He and Public Radio’s Jason Parrott discuss the work of the committee and some long-term projects.

Jerry Parks chairs Burlington's Renewable Energy Committee

Parks says the committee is the result of the efforts of a former mayor and a former city council member.  The panel has been in place for about six years.

Parks says the focus of the committee is moving the community and the region towards sustainability.

“That has a number of different components,” says Parks.  “One is energy efficiency, using less energy to accomplish the same things you are doing right now.  Another is recycling, reusing materials and making a complete circle with materials that are used for different products.”

Parks says the committee has a lofty goal when it comes to renewable energy/sustainability for Burlington and the surrounding region.

“When we got started, Governor Tom Vilsack was in office and his goal was for Iowa to be energy independent by 2025,” says Parks, “and that is probably one of our guiding lights.”

Parks says the biggest opportunity before Burlington is a potential partnership with a Canadian firm interested in adding turbines to Lock & Dam 18.  He says the city would not be able to do it on its own as the project carries a price tag of around $86-million.

Parks says a relatively new priority for the committee is the Burlington Energy Initiative.  He says the idea is to develop community-wide programs/projects to get more people thinking about renewable energy/sustainability.