2010 Press Release

CONTACT: Mike Owen, Iowa Policy Project, ipp@Lcom.net, (319) 338-0773, Joe Bolkcom (319) 353-2681 or (319) 330-9541

Iowans’ Bike Tour: Sharing Awareness of Clean Energy

IOWA CITY, Iowa (May 18, 2010) — The Green Bike Tour will be back on the road next month for the eighth time, returning to the European nation of Slovenia.

“This is our third visit to Europe, and this time we not only can learn about what’s happening there, but we also can bring news about how well Iowans are promoting renewable energy,” said David Osterberg, executive director of the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project and an organizer of the tour.

“We have learned much from our friends in Europe — and we also have a story to tell. Iowa is now among the world leaders in wind power, with up to 20 percent of our electricity production coming from wind,” said Osterberg, who also is an associate clinical professor of environmental policy at the University of Iowa.

Osterberg worked with Slovenian educators on a Green Bike Tour in 2008, but that was a one-day event. This time, four Iowans will ride with visits over seven days to renewable energy sites and meetings with public officials and scholars in several Slovenian cities.

Bicyclists on the tour will ride with solar panels, which will power laptop computers they use to send word back to the United States about their tour.

The primarily Iowa-based group will begin the tour June 5 at the University of Nova Gorica near the Slovenia’s western border with Italy, then head east to a solar plant at Ajdovscina. Among other tour stops include a solar plant at Ljubljana, a hydro/solar plant at Mavrice and a pumped storage power plant at Avce. Visits also include meetings with the Slovenia Government Office for Climate Change and local government officials.

Besides Osterberg, participants in the 2010 Green Bike Tour include:
• Joe Bolkcom, Outreach and Community Education Director, University of Iowa Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research; State Senator (D) Iowa City;
• John Moreland of Des Moines, staff assistant for U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, caseworker on agriculture, rural development and the environment;
• Edward Woolsey of Prole, Iowa; owner and CEO of a small renewable energy business, Green Prairie Wind Energy LLC; and
• Professor Mladen Franko of Ljubljana, Slovenia, vice president for education at the University of Nova Gorica (UNG) in Slovenia, and professor in the UNG School of Environmental Sciences.

All five participants are veterans of previous Green Bike events. Bolkcom, Osterberg and Woolsey were among riders on a tour to renewable-energy pioneering nations in northern Europe in 2002.

“Climate change is real,” Bolkcom said. “People everywhere are responding.

“Iowa should be proud of the progress we have made especially in wind power, but Europe is still a leader and we want to learn about the progress being made in Slovenia,” he added.

“Visiting universities is an important part of this tour — it’s really a university to university exchange that will allow us to share our story and to learn from students and professors about what’s happening in Slovenia.”

For more information about the Green Bike Tour, visit www.greenbike.org or the group’s blog site at http://greenbiketour.blogspot.com/, where updates will be posted during the tour.

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The Green Bike Tour is sponsored by The University of Iowa's Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, The Iowa Policy Project, and The Fred & Charlotte Hubbell Foundation, and Kelly Webworks.