Some 500 members of electric cooperative in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin held a three-day regional meeting in Dubuque this past week. Brian Kading, the executive vice president of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives says one of the big points of discussion was the recently passed federal energy bill. He the bill creates an environment that will bring more transmission on-line in the near future, which he says is important to Iowans. And he says it also provides an opportunity for electric cooperatives to have a level playing field in renewable energy opportunities. Kading says the bill will have an impact on all Iowans. He says the most immediate thing people will notice is a renewed commitment by the utility industry to move forward with additional renewable energy and new transmission facilities that will help with reliability. Hurricane Katrina brought the spotlight on the nation’s energy supply system, but Kading says people were already paying attention. He says even before the Hurricane we were starting to feel upward pressure on all forms of energy. He says the hurricane has probably made people more aware of energy sources, especially with gas prices going up. Kading says the experience with the hurricane can have some good results. He says it will hopefully encourage people to think of energy efficiency and ways to use energy in the wisest way possible.
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