Business and Environmental Benefits of Clean Energy Celebrated at Bright Ideas Breakfast

posted on Thursday, September 26, 2019 in Energy News

Electrification, efficiency, and other approaches explored at event.   

DES MOINES – More than 100 community and business leaders from around the state gathered for the Bright Ideas Breakfast in downtown Des Moines for a morning program on clean energy opportunities for Iowa, exploring how investment and policy efforts in energy efficiency, electrification, and renewable development improves the economy and the environment.  

“The price of new wind and solar has turned the economics of electricity generation upside down and should push policymakers and regulators to consider that the low-carbon option is also the low-cost option,” shared IEC Energy Program Director Kerri Johannsen. “As the development costs of renewable energy such as wind, solar, and battery storage continue to decline, Iowa business leaders in companies big and small can find myriad opportunities to save money and improve their bottom line.”

Sonia Aggarwal, Vice President of Energy Policy Solutions with San Francisco-based Energy Innovation, opened the event with a presentation on the economics of energy generation in the U.S. and opportunities for a carbon free future. Her vision of the future encourages goal setting, flexibility, and 100% electrification as the solution to meeting our growing energy needs with net-zero carbon emissions and low costs.

A panel of local Iowa business leaders continued the discussion, sharing their efforts and discussing energy policy impacts on industry. The panel included James Cade, VP of Fleet Services with Ruan Transportation, Chris Deal of internationally award-winning MODUS Engineering, and Shashi Menon, CEO of EcoEngineers.

Bright Ideas Panel 2019

Iowa business panel featuring Shashi Menon of EcoEngineers, Chris Deal of MODUS Engineering, and James Cade of Ruan Transportation.

The event wrapped with an awards presentation to three Iowa companies demonstrating a clean energy transition. Agri-Industrial Plastics, a privately-owned manufacturing company based in Jefferson County, received a Business Innovation award for their investment in solar and battery storage and energy efficiency measures that reduced the company’s peak load by six percent each month, delivering significant cost savings. Ideal Energy, a Fairfield-based solar installation company, received a Business Innovation award for their approach and services for companies seeking to add solar and storage to their operations.

Jenny Steffensmeier of Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing of Pilot Grove received the Partner in Policy award for her efforts to advance policy around clean energy and efficiency at the state level, as her experience in taking her business 100% solar introduced significant cost savings.

IEC Energy Program award winners 2019

2019 Award Winners: Lori Schaefer-Weaton - President of Agri-Industrial Plastics, Jenny Steffensmeier - owner of Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing, and Amy Van Beek - co-founder of Ideal Energy

“IEC was honored to recognize three Iowa companies leading by example – while saving money! There are many more businesses doing this great work, and many others who have yet to discover the opportunities from investment in energy efficiency, electrification, or renewable projects. Iowa is ready for 100% clean energy and IEC’s number one goal is to shrink our carbon emissions while helping Iowans flourish. The solutions are well within reach and together we can make this transition benefit everyone,” says Johannsen.

Funds raised by the Bright Ideas Breakfast will support IEC’s efforts to advance policy that addresses and improves renewable energy development, energy efficiency, and other clean energy efforts in Iowa.

The Iowa Environmental Council would like to thank this year’s generous event sponsors:

ITC Midwest
 CIPCO * Current RE Solar
Big Apple Orchard * Bill Menner Group * BNIM
The Energy Group * The Graham Group
 Integrated Power * Meredith * MoveIt 
Steffensmeier Welding & Manufacturing 
Virtual IT  * West Bank

  1. clean energy
  2. energy efficiency
  3. solar power
  4. solar tax credits
  5. wind power