The wind is blowing, the turbines are spinning and the energy is traveling directly to Iowa homes, farms and businesses. You read that correctly, the energy is being used right here in Iowa, not in Chicago or the east coast.
Maquoketa Valley Electric Cooperative (MVEC), headquartered in Anamosa, Iowa, is a distribution cooperative providing electric service to over 16,000 meters in Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson and Jones counties and portions of Buchanan, Cedar, Clayton, Clinton and Linn counties. As a distribution cooperative, MVEC purchases all of the electricity it delivers to its members. MVEC, along with 12 other Iowa rural electric cooperatives, formed a cooperative to provide the joint power and transmission needs of all 13 entities. This cooperative, Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO), is based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
CIPCO owns a diverse fleet of generating facilities across Iowa, in addition to a small percentage of power purchased on contract. CIPCO currently purchases wind energy on contract from three Iowa-based wind farms, including Elk Wind in Delaware County. Together, these wind farms make up just over five percent of CIPCO’s energy portfolio. CIPCO only transmits energy to Iowa distribution utilities.
CIPCO holds a 20-year contract to purchase the entire output from the 41-megawatt Elk Wind Farm located in Delaware County. This farm alone is capable of producing enough energy for about 14,000 typical Iowa homes. It is comforting to know that all of the electricity produced at Elk Wind is serving only Iowans.
MVEC remains committed to meeting our member’s needs for reliable and affordable power and CIPCO has a responsibility to provide competitively priced electricity to its member systems. Wind energy remains an attractive option for Iowa since the state lies at the eastern edge of the Great Plains where wind is relatively consistent. Wind energy is both available and renewable, which makes it an important addition to our nation’s long-term energy and environmental goals.
Wind energy is also one very important and growing component of CIPCO’s diverse power supply portfolio. More than 95% of the power provided to the CIPCO members is generated in Iowa, and over 40% of this power is generated from carbon-free and emissions-free resources. CIPCO continues to aggressively pursue viable alternative energy resources.