Chris Ball, Energy Efficiency Director and Interim Director of Public Works for Bloomfield, Iowa, will speak at T-Bock’s Underground* on Thursday, April 12th, from noon to 1pm. The title of his talk is “The Community Benefits of Energy Independence.”
The City of Bloomfield in south-central Iowa provides water, sewer, gas and electric services to its 2,640 residents. Chris oversees the utilities and related city operations, and has been a champion of energy efficiency and energy independence for many years.
In 2014, the city participated in a study with the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, and a subsequent workshop at Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado, analyzing the community’s energy opportunities. Energy independence became a vision “rooted in the community’s values of jobs, durability, and the up-by-the-bootstraps self-sufficiency”. According to Ball, the community conversation evolved quickly from just talking about energy to a focus on “can we bring jobs back here? Can we be more resilient?”
“By utilizing our resources responsibly and keeping (and creating) energy dollars in our community, we intend to attract new energy initiatives that will create jobs and position us as a community for the 21st century,” according to Doug Dixon, President of Bloomfield Main Street.
This small Iowa town just completed a landmark community solar field. It now boasts the largest tracking solar array in Iowa, and the web page and video (https://bloomfield.solar/) documenting its creation and place in the Bloomfield vision is called “A Journey to Energy Independence”.
“It’s for the future. It’s not for today, it’s for 20 years from now, it’s for 50 years from now… to hedge against rising costs of energy production.” said City Councilman Earl Howard, who has lived in Bloomfield for over 38 years. “It frees up city revenues for other projects, it saves the home owner money. If we are buying less high priced energy, then we are not raising the rates to the consumer so that’s the stability of it.”
“That is really what they define energy independence as,” said the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Meyer. “It’s about having a powerful role and self-determination in how energy positively impacts your community.”
*If you’d like to order lunch through T-Bock’s for the event, please check out their menu on their website and call 563-382-5970 x2 by 10am to place your order and stop at the bar to pay when you arrive.