Utilities Board Ordered Honesty from Alliant to Communities

Andy Johnson, Executive Director In a pair of orders in 2020 (January pp97-106 and October) related to the 2019 Alliant rate increase, the Iowa Utilities Board directed Alliant to develop a stakeholder engagement plan that would “present accurate information to communities regarding anticipated rate increases”, and address “the Board’s concern over the lack of transparency and the inaccurate information provided with regard to the Decorah municipalization vote.” Alliant developed a plan that

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Mission Possible: Accelerating Solar 10x In Rural America

From Giving Compass Part 4 of a multipart series about Clean Energy Districts.  In this article, Jim Osterhaus, Chair of Clayton County Energy District, and Andy Johnson, WED Executive Director discuss the evolution, opportunities, and impact of the Clean Energy District movement in Iowa and the Upper Midwest. Read part 4 (and the earlier parts) here

Electric Vehicles Are Greener, All Things Considered

Andy Johnson, Executive Director While it’s true that electric vehicles generally cost about half as much to drive in fuel compared to gasoline/diesel … We often get asked “are they really better for climate and the environment, given that fossil fuels still dominate electricity production, and batteries have a significant impact too?” The Union of Concerned Scientists has repeatedly demonstrated the lower fuel-related emissions of grid-powered EVs relative to gasoline

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WED and UERPC Lead Regional Electric Vehicle Collaborative

By Andy Johnson, Executive Director Electric vehicles (EVs) are the future, and the future is coming quickly to Northeast Iowa. Winneshiek Energy District and Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission have teamed up to lead a regional partnership that will accelerate the economic and environmental benefits from that transition. Additional partners include Northeast Iowa Community College, Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development, and Luther College economist Steven Holland. Winneshiek Energy District

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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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