June’s Energy Lunch: The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture in Iowa

By Colin Weber, Green Iowa Member On June 23rd, Dr. Dennis Todey, director of the USDA Midwest Climate Hub, gave a presentation entitled “The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture in Iowa” for the Winneshiek Energy District’s monthly Online Lunch Webinar. Dr. Todey discussed how climate change, specifically changing rainfall amounts and temperatures, have impacted soil quality, growing season length, and crop production in Iowa. According to research gathered by

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FERC and the War on Net Metering

By Andy Johnson, Executive Director There is growing interest in what’s happening at the FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) around net metering for customer-owned solar. We introduced the topic last issue, and provided a resource page on our web site. Here we’ll dive a little deeper. In April, a shadow group called the New England Ratepayer’s Association (NERA) submitted a petition to the FERC for a “declaratory order”. The NERA

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Bright Box Program Offers No-Contact Energy and Carbon Savings

by Jessica Hegdahl, Audit Coordinator There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and when it will be safe for the Winneshiek Energy District to resume in-home energy assessments. So we got creative! We are excited to share that Decorah’s Green Iowa AmeriCorps team is pioneering a no-contact home energy reduction program called Bright Box.  Our full home energy assessment includes a combination of combustion appliance safety testing, insulation analysis, a

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The City of West Union Embarks on a New Project to Study and Advance West Union’s Local Energy Opportunities

By Joel Zook, Energy Planner, and Joleen Jansen, Program Coordinator Clayton County Energy District The City of West Union was recently awarded an Iowa Economic Development Authority/Iowa Energy Center grant to study the current public geothermal loop system and hopefully advance this community geothermal system from a pilot project to a source of clean energy prosperity for West Union. Winneshiek Energy District is leading this project and is excited to

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Green Iowa Team helps at Food Hub

By Briana Burke, Green Iowa Americorps Member Every year, the American food system uses about the same amount of energy as the entire country of France- that’s a lot of energy! Although our Green Iowa Americorps team has taken a COVID hiatus from home energy efficiency, their work helping Food Hub and local farmers still relates back to energy issues in our community. Food Hub is a part of the

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May’s Solar to Storage Webinar

By Jim Martin-Schramm The director of Luther College’s Center for Sustainable Communities, Jim Martin-Schramm, presented “Solar to Storage” during the Winneshiek Energy District’s Online Lunch Webinar on Tuesday, May 19. Jim spoke about Luther’s latest renewable energy project, which will involve the installation of another large solar array and energy storage system in the field near the intersection of US-52 and Pole Line Road. This will be the third solar

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It’s Still a Good Time to Go Solar

By Joel Zook, Energy Planner These truly are unprecedented times. With the partial shutdown of our economy that is now slowly crawling back, it’s hard to know what the “new normal” will look like. We do know however, that there are good opportunities to invest in our local economy through energy efficiency and renewable energy. Those investments will help create a more robust and resilient economy. Money that we can

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Decorah Franchise Under Duress?

The Decorah City Council is currently being pressured by Alliant into signing a long-term electric franchise contract. The issue at stake is, who will own and reap the prosperity benefits from the clean energy future – our community, or Alliant shareholders? The Council has passed – and Alliant has rejected – a draft franchise contract that would meet all of Alliant’s terms except for the binding contract length. Council wants

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Green Iowa Team helps with Food Distribution, Pilots No-contact Lighting Program

Bri Burke, Green Iowa Member In the midst of this pandemic and all of the changes it has brought, one thing is still the same; the Green Iowa Americorps team is hard at work serving our community. Thankfully, there’s a lot of other great people serving our community that we are partnering with to accomplish much needed work. The team has been working with the Food Pantry, the Food Hub,

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New Program for Farms and Small Businesses

Joel Zook, Energy Planner New Funding Available for Farms and Small Businesses Luther College’s Center for Sustainable Communities has received USDA funding to provide energy audits through the Winneshiek Energy District (WED) to small businesses and agricultural producers in NE Iowa and SE Minnesota.  The grant funding provided by USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) significantly reduces the cost of a high-quality energy audit.   “This is a great opportunity

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