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New regulations will effect electric co-op customers

By Staff | Jun 13, 2014

To the editor:

Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative and its wholesale power suppliers Corn Belt Power Cooperative in Humboldt and Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative in Lemars do not agree with the Obama Administration’s use of the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide. The new regulations will directly impact our member-owners resulting in an increase in the cost of electricity and compromising the reliability of the electric grid when numerous coal plants are shut down.

It should be our elected Congress, not the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who develops a solution to reduce carbon emissions taking into account available technology, proper timeframe and previous utility efforts.

Forcing carbon dioxide regulation by essentially shutting down coal in the United States will do nothing to curb emissions worldwide. It does, however, close the door on innovative solutions that would keep coal a viable part of our energy future. It also puts many families at economic risk as they will certainly see dramatic increases in their electric bills once coal is restricted as a source of the electricity they depend on.

Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative and our wholesale power suppliers have taken great strides in the past 10 years to diversify our energy portfolio with renewable energy, increase energy efficiency efforts and implement new technology to more efficiently manage our system load.

In fact, our Cooperative has demonstrated its commitment to a sustainable environment by making substantial investments to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, both of which help reduce carbon emissions.

Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative not only supports renewable energy, we also are a local leader by investing more than $44 million in two 10.5-megawatt wind farms in 2009. Because we are advocates for our member-owners the project had to make a positive business case to support the economics of their rural electric cooperative.

Most recently in 2012, our Cooperative invested in load management systems to help reduce peak demand and delay addition of new generating sources. But baseload energy produced from coal is still necessary.

Last year, approximately 70 percent of the power our cooperative delivered to its members was generated with coal. Coal is a reliable, domestic and abundant resource. The federal government needs to work with us as a partner to make sure coal remains a part of our energy future.

Let your voice be heard. Go to www.action.coop and let the EPA know that America needs a common sense solution.


Rick Olesen

President and CEO,

Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative