It’s now time to park our bikes and take off our helmets as our trip comes to a close.
But before I fully return to reality, I’d like to reflect one last time on our experience.
Our tour provided us a great opportunity to learn how one small country is working to reduce its consumption of energy, develop renewable energy and address climate change in Europe. After its European Union acceptance in 2004, Slovenia began developing a plan to reduce its carbon emissions. From all we witnessed on the tour, it’s clear that Slovenians are taking some serious positive steps toward their goal.
As I noted in earlier posts, Slovenians are focused on developing a solar power industry. And as we pedaled through the country’s streets , we saw a couple hydro power plants and solar collectors on many homes, businesses and public buildings.
The market for solar photovoltaic systems is increasing as the cost of installation goes down. In an effort to stimulate growth, Slovenia has set aside 70 million Euros for a feed-in tariff to help consumers pay for these systems. The country has a goal of establishing 300 megawatts of solar power by 2020.
Iowa clearly needs to pursue this type of technology. We need to develop state policy to support this growing industry, addressing consumer demand, workforce skill development and financing incentives.
The tour has also given us an opportunity to share Iowa’s own efforts in developing energy efficiency. We covered more than 300 kilometers of bicycle riding through spectacular farm-dotted countryside. We faced a few challenges, but coasted for the most part.
I would like to thank all my colleagues that participated in the trip including our David Osterberg – the tour leader, John Moreland and Ed Woolsey. And I would especially like to thank CGRER for supporting my time in Slovenia and Jim Malewitz, CGRER’s journalism intern for editing and making the blog interesting and readable!
And finally, a special thank you to Professor Mladen Franko from the University of Nova Gorica for being such a great host and taking care of us in Slovenia. He did a great job of planning our route and our visits. We are extremely grateful for his friendship and assistance.