Iowa Energy & Sustainability Academy Receives Grant from Iowa Power Fund

The Des Moines Public Schools Iowa Energy & Sustainability Academy (IESA) has received a $43,000 grant from the Iowa Power Fund to support the project-based energy and environmental science class.

The grant funds are being used to pay for student field experiences and general classroom lab supplies, and to purchase a solar/wind training system which includes state-of-the-art components and curriculum to demonstrate how wind turbines and solar cells are being used in the consumer and industrial markets to supplement the world’s power needs. The training system is made with the same real-world components that students would see in their own homes, schools, or workplace.

“The solar/wind training system will be a vital second step in the process of exploring different forms of alternative energy systems,” said Larry Beall, IESA instructor. “Our goal is to talk about energy systems in class, simulate their use through labs and demonstration, and then finally take the class to a site where these systems are being put to use.”

IESA students have already taken two field trips — to the Walnut, Iowa wind farm where they toured the farm and learned about the wind generators; and to Minneapolis where they took an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Mall of America and Target Field to learn about recycling and energy saving efforts. Grant funds also will support future trips to a wind generator factory facility, Loess Hills State Forest, Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago, and local Metro Waste facilities.

“The Iowa Energy & Sustainability Academy is one of a kind because it offers college level instruction and real-world learning about alternative energy and environmental science,” said Dr. Nancy Sebring, superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. “It is one of many examples of our district’s efforts to incorporate learning for all students in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.”

In its second year of existence, IESA currently has 25 students enrolled in the 2-year program.

The Iowa Power Fund Community Grant Program enabled cities, counties, and non-profit organizations to get involved with energy efficiency or conservation efforts, and environmental organizations. The program provides grants to help these organizations and communities create local programs to save energy.