Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative's Rick Olesen (left) accepting the award from Jonathan Bartlett (right) from the DOE's Wind Powering America initiative. Photo credit: Randy Manion
Arlington, VA.; March 13, 2012 —Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative was awarded the 2011 Wind Cooperative of the Year Award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) through its Wind Powering America initiative. This award honors one electric cooperative each year for its leadership and innovation in wind power.
“We are very pleased and honored to receive this award, said Terry L. Bruns, president and CEO at Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative. “Iowa Lakes has the distinction of being the first electric distribution cooperative to design, finance and complete a wind energy project of this size and able to condense what normally is a 3-year project into an 18-month timeframe.”
This year’s award honors Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative for its innovation in developing two wind farms with a total of 21 megawatts of capacity. Funded with $43 million in Federal Clean Renewable Energy Bonds and commissioned in March 2009, the wind farms take advantage of existing substation infrastructure that supports two nearby ethanol plants. Choosing that site eliminated the need to build transmission-level connections, saving the project $5 million.
“This award illustrates what cooperatives can achieve in their communities when given incentives that work for the not-for-profit business model, such as the CREB program,” said NRECA CEO Glenn English.
“Our two wind projects, that have exceeded production projections, were made possible because of a great internal team effort in coordination with those of Basin Electric Cooperative, Corn Belt Power Cooperative, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation, CoBank and Power System Engineering, Inc,” said Bruns.
A panel of wind industry, utility, government, national laboratory and cooperative experts selected Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative for the honor from a group of 12 nominees nationwide. The award was presented to Rick Olesen, vice president of operations and engineering, at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association TechAdvantage Conference in San Diego, Calif., on March 8, 2012.
Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative serves over 12,000 member-owner accounts locally in Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Kossuth, Palo Alto, and Pocahontas counties. Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative is dedicated to leadership and growth by providing reliable, competitively priced energy while offering valuable service to benefit their member-owners and the communities they serve.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.