When considering Iowa, what comes to mind? Open fields? Livestock? High-quality Internet access? According to the FCC, if you live in Iowa, your broadband problems are over. Of course, as ILSR Research Associate Katie Kienbaum points out in her recent piece in the Des Moines Register, the reality in the Hawkeye State is quite different than the FCC’s flawed stats report.… Read More
Three of our researchers (Christopher Mitchell, John Farrell, & Brenda Platt) sit down together to discuss how small cities across America are innovating in the ways they are supporting their local economies. Mitchell discusses this innovation in Idaho; Farrell details the discussions in Decorah, Iowa; and Platt portrays many different home composting programs.… Read More
The final referendum results in May 2018 were stunningly close, with local organizers coming within three votes of advancing an effort for a municipal electric utility in the small town of Decorah, Iowa. The incumbent monopoly utility outspent local activists by a 4-to-1 margin, overwhelming local organizing despite a study that suggested electric customers could save 30% by switching to a locally owned utility.… Read More
Looking at the Community Network Map, anyone can see that Iowa is filled with towns that have chosen to invest in publicly owned Internet infrastructure. On May 1st, the community of Pella took a step at the polls that will bring them a little closer to having a “pin” on our map. Ninety-two percent of those voting in the special election chose to authorize the City Council to establish a telecommunications utility.
Located in south central Iowa, Pella is about 40 miles south of Des Moines in Marion County. Pella Corporation and the Vermeer Manufacturing Company are the largest employers with Century College and the Pella Regional Health Center also retaining many people in the community. All of these large entities need fiber connectivity for different purposes.… Read More
What can a town do to advance clean energy locally if it is fed up with its incumbent, investor-owned monopoly utility? In the latest episode of the Local Energy Rules podcast, John Farrell, Director of ILSR’s Energy Democracy Initiative, interviews Andy Johnson and Joel Zook, community members and local energy leaders from Decorah Power, about an upcoming ballot initiative in Decorah, Iowa, and the culmination of an organized, grassroots effort by residents to take back local control of their electric utility and energy future. In a midterm election year, this is one vote that those who care about local, clean energy will not want to miss.… Read More
ILSR’s Director of Energy Democracy, John Farrell, provided a presentation to a forum of Decorah Power, the local advocacy organization favoring city utility ownership to discuss several advantages from local ownership. First, there’s an abundant local wind and solar energy resource. Second, Decorah isn’t alone, and over 2,000 other cities chart their own course with municipal ownership. Finally, getting power locally returns more dollars to the local economy.… Read More
A citizen-led effort to establish in a city-run electric utility in the small northeast Iowa community of Decorah is picking up steam, with advocates — including some local officials — forecasting significant local economic growth powered by the transition. Decorah, … Read More