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Iowa Energy Center Board Minutes - June 6, 2023

State of Iowa
Energy Center Board
Meeting Minutes of June 6, 2023
at IEDA, 1963 Bell Avenue, Suite 200
Helmick Conference Room
Des Moines, Iowa
Or Via Teams Webinar

Call to order 2:02 p.m.
Board Members Present

Troy DeJoode, Board Chair
Stuart Anderson, Vice Chair
Dan Nickey
Debi Durham
Jennifer Johnson*
Craig Just*
Matt Washburn*

Scott Stokes
Terry Kouba
Kelcey Brown

Iowa Economic Development Authority Staff Present
Brian Selinger
Amber Buckingham
Stephanie Weisenbach
Lisa Connell
Deanna Triplett
Jeff Geerts
Abbie Christophersen
Betty Hessing
Michelle Cook
Vicky Clinkscales
Terry Roberson*

Iowa Finance Authority Staff Present
Dave Powell*
Samantha Askland*
Tim Morlan*

Others Present
Nick Peterson, Alliant Energy
Ray Klein, ISU, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
Dr. Anne Kimber, ISU, EPRC
Dr. Ajay Nair, ISU, Department of Horticulture
Dr. Matthew O’Neal, ISU, Plant Pathology, Entomology & Microbiology
Dr. Hongli Feng, ISU, Center for Agriculture and Rural Development
Carolann Jensen, ISU*
Jace Mikels, Iowa Senate Democratic Caucus*
Evan Johnson, Legislative Services Agency*
Brenda Biddle, Iowa Utilities Board*
Ethan Hohenadel, Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives*

*Participated via Teams

Welcome & Introductions by Board Chair Troy DeJoode
Troy DeJoode welcomed everyone to the June 6th IEC Board meeting.

Roll Call
Betty Hessing did roll call and a quorum was established.

Consideration of February 23, 2023 IEC Board Meeting Minutes
Motion by Stuart Anderson
Motion I move approval of the February 23, 2023 minutes as
Second Dan Nickey
Voice Vote All ayes in favor. Motion approved.

Fiscal Update – Attachment A
Terry Roberson explained the main account will reflect that slight recapture that we did at the last meeting and also some additional expenditures on the existing contracts. Just over $11.6M is currently available after all those obligations are taken into account. The new loan program reflects roughly $3.6M in new loans which were approved at the February meeting. On the old loan program, not a lot has changed—those old receivables that were brought over when IEDA assumed the program, are slowly winding down. They were just under $6M when they came over in 2017 and now are under a half-a-million. Terry Roberson stated he would be happy to answer any questions. Dan Nickey asked how much the Grant Committee has available currently and Terry Roberson replied that through the end of May, just over $11.6M is available.

Competitive Grant Program Update – Attachment B
Amber Buckingham gave an update on the fifth round of grant applications that were launched in February. Thirty-four pre-applications were received and our Grant Committee met at the end of April to review those and eleven were selected to move on to the final application round. Those applications are due June 28th and our committee review is set for late July. We will have Board recommendations for funding at the August Energy Center Board meeting. Amber Buckingham asked if there were any questions; no questions were asked.

Also, in Board Papers is an “Iowa Energy Center Grant Status Report”. Amber Buckingham highlighted a couple noteworthy grants and updates. The first one being the “Grow Energy Workforce Grant”. This is a first in the nation and a first of its kind certification program for high school students. When the students graduate, they have a Building Operator Certificate. Those who do not enter the workforce immediately upon high school graduation, would enter a Community College with college credits. The program has been so successful that they will be continuing the program after the completion of the grant period, which is in November of this year. Another round of graduates is planned in the coming years.

Another project that we have is looking to rejuvenate the lithium-ion in battery cathodes without damaging or destructing the battery materials. The focus is to leave the battery system fully intact and  bypassing the need to fully deconstruct the battery during recycling. Some early work has been done showing that refurbishing outcomes are strongly dependent on the battery chemistry,
isolating the types of batteries that are the best choice. The goal is to get some successful recycling.

Grant Modification Request for 20-IEC-009 – Attachment C
Amber Buckingham explained this is a second no-cost extension request for 20-IEC-009. We received a request from Iowa State University to extend the agreement end date for project 20-IEC-009 to August 31, 2024. This grant was originally made to Iowa State with an original end date of August 31, 2022. In August of 2022 we did receive a request for a one-year extension which was
granted by our staff. They have requested an additional one-year extension due to some issues with getting the information that they needed from their project partners. They feel they need the additional time to analyze that data to fully complete the project. It does not exceed the five-year maximum grant period, so we are still at a four-year grant period. Our recommendation would be to approve the no cost extension. Chairperson DeJoode asked if there were questions; no questions were asked. 
Motion by Debi Durham
Motion I move to approve the amendment to 20-IEC-009.
Second Craig Just
Roll Call Yes: 7 Abstain: 0
Motion approved.

Grant Modification Request for 20-IEC-016 – Iowa State University – Attachment D
Amber Buckingham stated this is a budget modification for 20-IEC-016. Iowa State University has requested a budget modification amendment for this award, which is entitled “Improve Battery Energy Efficiency via Structural Design and 3D Printing for Electric Vehicles”. The PI has indicated the need to reallocate funds within the approved budget to support costs relevant to the proposed research activities, such as supplies and materials and supporting a post doc in lieu of a graduate student. The PI indicates that there was a shortage of graduate students and the team had to hire a post-doc to complete the work. Additionally, supplies and material costs have increased substantially due to supply chain challenges. They have requested to move $55,482 from Student Tuition and Domestic Travel to Salaries and Wages, Fringe Benefits and Supplies/Materials. These changes do not impact the overall grant award request, which remains unchanged. As this is over $10,000, Board approval is necessary and our recommendation would be to approve the amendment. 

Chairperson DeJoode asked if there were questions. Dan Nickey stated his concern was with taking money out of travel—would they still be able to meet their goals? Amber Buckingham replied that the travel costs were for meetings, but they did a lot of their meetings virtually during Covid, so they have some additional funding that they are not going to utilize.
Motion by Dan Nickey
Motion I move to approve the amendment to 20-IEC-016.
Second Stuart Anderson
Roll Call Yes: 7 Abstain: 0
Motion approved.

Energy Infrastructure Revolving Loan Program (EIRLP) – EIRLP Update –
Stephanie Weisenbach stated the Energy Infrastructure Revolving Loan Program has approximately $11M available. We did receive one application this cycle and we anticipate another application to come for the next cycle, for your consideration at the August 10th Board meeting. The Loan Committee met twice this quarter and at the first meeting we were joined by Director Durham to have a discussion of the program’s evaluation criteria, the interest in the loan program and other programs available for similar projects. We discussed the approach to solar-only projects that are utilizing additional technologies and whether that was what the Committee wanted for the program and we reviewed that there are a variety of federal programs available now from the Department of Energy and USDA—in addition, federal tax credits for solar projects that have some availability for municipal and non-profit entities now. Where that discussion led, was that the solar-only projects do not meet any of those three key criteria for the program to demonstrate that need for assistance in order to deliver the benefits of that type of project. Out of that, we want to make that more evident to future applicants and be able to effectively direct them to additional programs and streamline our review process. We do plan to update the webpage and application information in the near term. We will also be reviewing our Policies and Procedures Handbook annually, to further refine and communicate that approach and also discuss other potential changes as well.  Ms. Weisenbach asked if there were questions; no questions were asked.

Energy Infrastructure Revolving Loan Program Loan Application Request – Farmers Electric Cooperative, Kalona – Attachment E
Stephanie Weisenbach explained the one application we received this quarter was from Farmers Electric Cooperative in Kalona. They plan to complete and own a solar project to serve its members. The project will add 998 kW of solar power on a 3.5-acre site. The total project cost is $1,348,345 and the applicant is requesting a 10-year loan term. They have other financing to cover part of the project, secured through their reserve funds and they are planning to use a Federal Investment Tax Credit and apply for a USDA REAP Grant. Getting into this program’s purpose and eligibility, it would still fit that electricity generation consistent with our definition of energy infrastructure for the three criteria for the program. As discussed recently, it would not be quite fulfilled due to the limited application and the type of technology with other assistance available and being readily adopted across the State. 

Stephanie Weisenbach stated the recommendation from the Loan Committee on this application is to deny the application based on not fulfilling the program criteria. The applicant did pledge collateral that is acceptable to the program and financial information was reviewed thoroughly and did not pose any concerns. We will communicate with the Farmers Electric Cooperative regarding other programs available. 
Chairperson DeJoode asked if there were questions; no questions were asked.
Motion by Stuart Anderson
Motion I move to deny the application.
Second Debi Durham
Roll Call Yes: 7 Abstain: 0
Motion approved.

Appointment to Committees and Election of Chair/Vice Chair – Attachment F
Lisa Connell stated she had three action items for the Board. We are making appointments to the Grant Committee and Loan Committee, as well as electing a Chair and Vice Chair. We are doing that based on how the Board looks today. We do have multiple open seats so it is tricky timing, but what we are proposing here is to make those reappointments to the committees, as well as elect your Chair and Vice Chair, subject to reappointment to the Board. Having those open seats, I would expect as we start to fill those open Board seats, we will come back to you with additional recommendations to add on to these committees. Also, your terms will end on April 30th instead of June 30th.

Appointments to Grant Committee
Motion by Debi Durham
Motion I move to reappoint Jennifer Johnson, Dan Nickey and Matt
Washburn to a three-person Grant Committee for a term
from July 1, 2023 to April 30, 2024, subject to
reappointment to the Board.
Second Stuart Anderson
Voice Vote All ayes in favor. Motion approved.

Appointments to Loan Committee
Motion by Dan Nickey
Motion I move to reappoint Stuart Anderson, Kelcey Brown, Troy
DeJoode, Scott Stokes and Craig Just to a five-person
Loan Committee for a term from July 1, 2023 to April 30,
2024, subject to reappointment to the Board.
Second Debi Durham
Roll Call All ayes in favor. Motion approved.

Election of Board Chair and Vice Chair
Motion by Debi Durham
Motion I move to elect Stuart Anderson to serve as Chair and
Craig Just to serve as Vice Chair for a term from July 1,
2023 to April 30, 2024, subject to reappointment to the
Second Dan Nickey
Roll Call All ayes in favor. Motion approved.

Utility-Scale Agrivoltaics Research and Demonstration – Attachment G
Presenters were Nick Peterson, Alliant Energy; Ray Klein, College of Agriculture  & Life Sciences, Iowa State University; Dr. Anne Kimber, Electric Power Research Center, Iowa State University; Dr. Ajay Nair, Department of Horticulture, Iowa State University; and Dr. Matt O’Neal, Department of Plant Pathology, Entomology & Microbiology, Iowa State University; Dr. Hongli Feng, Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, Iowa State University. The topic was regarding the partnership between Alliant Energy and Iowa State University working on the Alliant Energy Solar Farm at Iowa State University.

Other Business
Troy DeJoode turned it over to Brian Selinger to give Energy Office updates.

Energy Center Office Updates
Brian Selinger introduced our newest Energy Office colleague, Michelle Cook, who is the Energy Data & Reporting Coordinator. In addition to that, she is going to be our Energy Center Board  Administrator. Betty Hessing has done a wonderful job of handling the IEC Board Administrator job and we thank her. Brian Selinger asked Vicky Clinkscales to give an update on the transition of
Board Papers to Team Papers. Vicky Clinkscales stated we have been using Board Papers for your Board material, but we will be transitioning to Team Papers after this meeting. Team Papers is by the same developer as Board Papers, just a different application. Instructions will be sent out to all Board members on what you need to do; your log-in will be the same. 

Brian Selinger stated we have new federal funding and programming coming IEDA’s way, so periodically when we have new updates, we will share those with the Board. Brian Selinger introduced Stephanie Weisenbach and Jeff Geerts. Stephanie Weisenbach gave a presentation on the Iowa Grid Resilience Fund and Jeff Geerts gave a presentation on the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program. (Attachment H)

Public Comment Period
No public comments. 

Chairperson DeJoode adjourned the meeting.

Adjournment 3:05 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,
Betty Hessing, IEC Board Administrator