Iowa Lakes Regional Water District explores renewable energy

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Iowa Lakes Regional Water is teaming up with Spencer-based Trusted Energy to develop renewable energy prospects for the district’s regional facilities. The Iowa Lakes Regional Water board of directors hopes renewable energy will a great fit for a water and wastewater treatment plant. The district is trying to offset rising electrical costs. They hope the relationship with Trusted Energy will lead to status as a net producer of clean energy – by contributing excess production to the power grid.

There are currently 24 potential sites under review for renewable energy development. Sites have been divided into five clusters, ranked and prioritized in terms of needs.

The ILRW board of directors voted on Jan. 17 to explore wind and solar options throughout the water district’s distribution system. Costs keep going up for the water district, and the district must pass those costs on to their 4,373 water customers and their 879 wastewater customers – one utility announced a 7 percent rate increase and another is looking to increase a total of 10 percent over the next two years.

Renewable electricity will not have the fuel cost normally associated with a coal or natural gas power plant and ILRW will benefit from a fixed expense for the next 20 to 50 years of the renewable equipment’s usable life.

During warmer temperatures, energy demands grow due to seasonal higher usage. Solar has an advantage during those peak times, as there is plenty of available sunshine. To meet energy demands during low-sun production days, the use of net-metering with both solar and wind will help ILRW balance out variable output between the solar production and the electricity usage.

Trusted Energy is a full-service renewable energy company based out of Spencer. Trusted Energy provides engineering, design, installation and maintenance of renewable energy projects for farms, businesses, homes, and municipalities.

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