Rural Power Energy Lunch Recap

Piper Wood, Americorps Member Last Tuesday, the Winneshiek Energy District hosted Erik Hatlestad of CURE Minnesota to discuss the Rural Power Coalition and its goals to secure federal investment that will aid in the rural energy transition.  Rural electric cooperatives serve 40 million Americans across the country, and these electric cooperatives are located in over 90% of federally recognized ‘persistent poverty’ counties, including many BIPOC (Black, Indidgenous, People of Color)

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Iowa Needs Renewables, and Renewables Need Transmission

Andy Johnson, Executive Director This message was central to comments submitted by the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa in a new investigative docket on transmission opened by the Iowa Utilities Board, , INU-2021-0001.  Unfortunately, we are seeing growing headwinds in Iowa for renewable energy at all scales. These include the Legislature’s failure to renew the Iowa solar energy tax credits was one example, an apparently fossil-fuel funded campaign to spread

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Black Hills Rate Case: What You Need to Know Now

By Joel Zook, Energy Planner, and Andy Johnson, Executive Director On June 1, 2021 Black Hill Energy filed a rate increase request with the Iowa Utilities Board. Black Hills serves approximately 4,300 customers in Winneshiek County, including most of Decorah, Calmar, Ossian and Ridgeway. Customers have likely already seen the impact of the interim rate increase on their bills, though much of the effect is hidden in non-heating months. Iowa

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Home Electrification Energy Lunch Recap

By Max Walker, Green Iowa Americorps member In last week’s energy lunch, Winneshiek Energy District’s energy planner, Joel Zook, covered the possibility of mitigating the severity of climate change through home electrification. There are two other major steps that must happen alongside home electrification if we are to reduce our environmental impact in a meaningful way. First, we need to transition our methods of producing electricity to renewable energy. This

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What Happens in Texas… Doesn’t Stay in Texas: Iowa Customers Set to See Higher Natural Gas Bills

By Joel Zook The Polar Vortex of 2021 was an anomaly compared to normal years. The polar vortex is far above the polar jet stream in the stratosphere and typically doesn’t interact with it. When the polar vortex is strong and stable, the polar jet stream below it stays farther north and keeps cold air contained over the Arctic. Every few years the polar vortex dramatically weakens, and can even be pushed off

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Free Electrification Assessments for Co-op Customers

Winneshiek Energy District is excited to trial a limited number of First-Step Electrification Assessments and In-depth Electrification Audits in collaboration with Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative and MiEnergy, with funding from the Beneficial Electrification League. Customers of Allamakee-Clayton and MiEnergy qualify for a free service from our team! The First-Step Electrification Assessments will include all the elements of a standard Home Energy Assessment. This includes a whole home lighting upgrade to high

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Energy Lunch Recap: SOO Green Line

Written by Max Walker The Winneshiek Energy District held an energy lunch for a presentation on the SOO Green High Voltage Direct Current Link, or SOO Green Line. The SOO Green Line is an electrical transmission line that will travel from Mason City, Iowa to Plano, Illinois. This transmission line will connect two of the primary renewable energy markets of the Midwest. The broad goal of the project is to

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Life With Renewables

By Jim Fritz I was a sophomore in high school for the first Earth Day. We had a whole day devoted to it with speakers, activities, etc. Our biology teacher (I nearly became a biology teacher because of him) was the spearhead. It changed me. Later my dad and I made a passive solar hot air collector from beer cans spray painted black. It worked pretty well! I designed an

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Legislature Nixes Solar Tax Credit; Clean Energy Districts of Iowa Calls on Governor to Keep Iowa’s Promise to Waitlisted Solar Owners

Andy Johnson, Executive Director The Iowa Legislature failed to extend Iowa’s solar tax credits during the 2021 session. The immediate impact is an expiration of the Iowa credit at the end of 2021. Hundreds of existing solar owners on the tax credit waitlist are also set to lose their promised credit. Solar advocates statewide had supported House File 221, which was introduced early in the session, passed out of subcommittee,

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Watts Cooking?

Martin Donovan, Green Iowa Americorps When you’re cooking up ways to increase the efficiency of your home, upgrading your stove to an induction cooktop could be a fun and useful thing to consider. Unlike electric or gas cooktops, induction burners directly heat pots and pans. But what does direct heat actually mean? When cooking with electric stoves, a lot of energy is used to heat metal coils which then heats

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