The Iowa Energy Center would be required to come up with a plan to aid public schools with energy efficiency projects through grants under a bill introduced in the Iowa House of Representatives Tuesday.
House File 2331 would require the center to add recommendations for projects and grants for elementary and secondary public schools to its annual report. The bill encourages energy efficiency and renewable-energy production projects at the schools.
The center already has worked with universities. No lobbyist declarations were recorded by mid-morning Tuesday, shortly after the bill was introduced by Reps. Charles Isenhart of Dubuque, Cindy Winckler of Davenport and Ras Smith of Waterloo, all Democrats.
The bill would require the energy center to convene a panel of stakeholders that would forward recommendations to the energy center board.
Energy Center board Chairman Tim Whipple said the bill took him by surprise, because no one had discussed it with him. He said the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s energy office already is working with schools on baseline energy measurements.
“I think the board would be reluctant to intrude into decisions typically made by school boards and administrators,” Whipple said. “At the moment, the mission of the Energy Center is to focus on implementing the governor’s energy plan. But if the Legislature wants us to get involved in school district budgeting decisions, we would take a look at that.”
The bill was referred to the House Education Committee.