Moniz to host Iowa meeting on energy review

Source: Hannah Hess, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2016

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz travels to Des Moines on Friday for the first stop in a two-day Iowa visit pegged to the Quadrennial Energy Review.

Moniz will speak before panels on bulk power generation, transmission development and electricity distribution in the Iowa capital before heading west to dedicate the Ames Laboratory’s Sensitive Instrument Facility and deliver the commencement address at Iowa State University’s graduation ceremony.

The visit comes on the heels of DOE’s announcement that it will participate in a first-of-its-kind partnership with Clean Line Energy Partners LLC to develop a $2.5 billion wind energy superhighway (EnergyWire, March 28).

Another long-haul transmission project from the Houston-based company, the Rock Island Clean Line, would carry wind-generated power from northwest Iowa and the surrounding region to Illinois and other states to the east. The project needs approval from Iowa utility regulators.

Moniz joins Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie (D) and U.S. Department of Agriculture rural development administrator Sam Rikkers for the session at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, one of six regional meetings on the review. It is part of the agency’s broader push for technology development (Greenwire, Jan. 25).

Later that afternoon, Moniz will speak in Ames at the new, $9.9 million SIF, funded by DOE’s Office of Science. The facility holds $6 million in state-of-the-art electron microscopy equipment and is specially sited and designed to protect the microscopes from vibrations and electromagnetic interference that compromise their accuracy.

The microscopes, funded by DOE, the Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University, include a dual-beam focused ion beam microscope, a field-emission scanning electron microscope, an aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope and a scanning transmission electron microscope.

On Saturday, the former Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor will speak to undergraduates at Iowa State University’s spring commencement ceremony. Moniz will “broadly discuss how the history of the university and Ames Laboratory demonstrate that former, current and future Iowa State University students can make a difference in the United States’ clean energy future,” according to DOE.