Pictured: Rep. Feenstra (L) speaks with REG execs and staff following a tour of their Ralston facility Friday.
Fourth District Congressman, Randy Feenstra, made three stops in the listening area Friday, two of which highlighted the importance of renewable energy to rural Iowa’s economy. Feenstra’s first stop was in Schleswig at the New Harvest windfarm followed by a tour of the Renewable Energy Group (REG) biodiesel production facility in Ralston. More than 50% of the state’s energy is generated from wind and REG produced more than 30 million gallons of biofuels at the Ralston plant alone. Feenstra says that is just a small example of how the fourth district is developing and implementing clean, renewable energy.
According to Feenstra, value-added is the key feature of the renewable energy initiatives in the district. He says there needs to be some form of economic incentive for a program to work. In wind energy’s case, it is lower monthly utility bills for consumers. For biofuels, it is additional markets for producers’ crops with the added benefit of lower prices at the pump for ethanol or biodiesel and lower carbon footprint. Feenstra says that is why it is so frustrating renewable fuels were left out of the infrastructure bill currently working through Congress.
Feenstra adds fully electric vehicles are nearly as good for the environment as many people think.
Earlier this month, Feenstra introduced the Biofuel Cell Research Act, which directs the Department of Energy to establish a research and demonstration program to develop a commercially viable fuel cell system that uses renewable fuels as its main source. More information about that bill can be found included with this story on our website.