The University of Iowa

Jackson County Clean Energy Plan

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Academic Year 
2021-2022
College/Department 
Planning & Public Affairs
Project Partner 

Working in conjunction with the Jackson Clean Energy District (Jackson CED), graduate students in the School of Planning & Public Affairs will assist in the development of a Clean Energy Action Plan for Jackson County, Iowa.  

Jackson CED exists to strengthen Jackson County communities in Jackson County by leading the transition away from fossil fuels toward local and inclusive clean energy.  Jackson CED has a three-pronged community building mission:

  • To positively affect the local economy by retaining energy dollars in Jackson County.
  • To slow climate change by promoting wise energy use.
  • To facilitate fair access to clean and local energy.

A Clean Energy Action Plan will provide the blueprint to accomplish specific renewable energy objectives.  The action plan will help local leaders, legislators, and the public understand the economic and social benefits of transitioning to clean energy.  Data, cost-benefit analyses, stakeholder input, and best practices will serve as the basis for developing action and implementation steps. 

The planning team will gather stakeholder input in order to both provide education on the topic of clean energy and to understand real or perceived or real barriers and constraints.  Additionally, the planning team will develop materials that facilitation implementation of the action plan. 

Jackson CED has identified specific projects to include in the action plan:

  • A GIS map of existing renewable energy installations (e.g., solar, wind, geothermal) in Jackson County
  • Marketing materials for the public that emphasize successful local, clean energy installations (including scope of ownership and diversity of applications) and financial and environmental impacts of locally owned renewable energy
  • An information packet for legislators to influence legislation that supports clean, locally owned energy.
  • A study to assess financial and environmental implications of implementing renewable energy sources (e.g., solar, wind) for generation of power at Jackson County facilities.
  • Models to show alternatives for the small towns in Jackson County (and, by extension, small towns across Iowa) to own and operate a micro-grid utility consisting entirely of renewable energy production (e.g., solar, wind) and battery storage devices.  Target communities are those with populations below 500.

The Clean Energy Action Plan will include key elements needed for decision-making and implementation of specific projects, such as: policy requirements, equity implications, financing and ownership alternatives, cost-benefit analyses, budget impacts (i.e. return on investment, or ROI), and resource/operations requirements.  The final document will make specific recommendations to help Jackson County communities take meaningful steps toward a clean energy future. 

Additional Resources:

Jackson County Energy District website