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Iowa Municipalities Launch RE Programs

Iowa’s 137 municipally owned electric utilities are launching their alternate energy purchase programs as required by state law. The programs involve a variety of methods of allowing customers to participate in renewable energy, including customer contribution funds, monthly premiums for green power, and purchase of green tags. Because Iowa’s municipal utilities are not rate-regulated by the Iowa Utilities Board, they are able to choose their own program methods and renewable sources.

Ankeny, Iowa – January 8, 2004[SolarAccess.com] Several utilities have already launched their programs and are generating success. For example, Lenox Municipal Utilities currently has 55 out of 749 customers signed up to contribute US$2 per month toward renewable energy, a participation rate of 7.43 percent. If only residential customers are counted, Lenox’s participation rate is almost 10 percent. Another small city, Fairbank, already has 4.51 percent of its 532 customers participating. Many of the utility programs were created under several umbrella programs, including Green City Energy from the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, RiverWinds from Missouri River Energy Services, and PrairieWinds from Basin Electric Cooperative. The Iowa Legislature passed the alternate energy purchase program requirement in 2001; and the Iowa Utilities Board issued its final rules in late August 2003. Customer notification was required by November 1, 2003, and program implementation must have been completed by January 1, 2004. All electric utilities in Iowa, including municipals, rural electric cooperatives, and investor-owned utilities, are mandated to offer the programs. The mandate requires utilities only to offer customer programs; it does not set standards for renewable generation or customer participation. Program information for the first two is available at the following web site: