Iowa Municipal Utility Votes for 20 Percent Renewable Energy Standard

Date: 8 Dec 2005 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

In late November, the Waverly Light and Power (WLP) Board of Trustees unanimously voted to set a 20 percent renewable energy standard for the municipally-owned utility’s generation portfolio. Currently, the utility has 3.1 percent renewable generation and the new goal would raise that to 20 percent by 2020.

WLP serves about 4,000 customers in and around Waverly, Iowa, and has about 45 MW of electric generation providing power to its customers. According to the WLP resolution, the renewable standard will be based on energy not capacity. Here is the text of the resolution:

A motion (Schmidt, Hanawalt) to set the Board’s goal at 20% in renewable energy resources to meet system energy requirements by the year 2020 (to be revisited every 2-3 years as seen necessary) was made and passed with a unanimous votes.

“The community has been supportive of renewable energy and has encouraged us to increase our commitment,” said Chris Schmidt, Board Chair. WLP was the first public power system in the Midwest to own and operate wind generation. According to WLP, the new requirement is not dependent on the cost of renewable energy development in the future. WLP also believes that that the new policy goals may be met sooner than the 2020 deadline.

WLP is also involved in another innovative energy project known as the Iowa Stored Energy Plant (ISEP). This is an effort to turn a variable supply of wind energy and make it act more like a base-load or intermediate-load resource by combining it with compressed air storage. The plant will use electric output from a wind farm, plus supplemental off-peak grid energy, to drive air compressors that will push air into deep underground geological formations. Then, when demand for electricity is high, the air will be released and used to spin combustion turbines to generate electricity. The project is in the research and development phase and is proposed to be on-line in 2010.


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John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.