Members of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives are speaking with their counterparts from Illinois and Wisconsin in a regional meeting this week. Association spokesman, Alan Urlis, says the discussions have focused on meeting the need for their product.
Urlis says they need additional "24 by seven uninterrupted power sources", including more renewable resources. But he says renewable sources such as wind and solar are only good while the wind is blowing or sun shining, so "we need more power plants that are either fueled by coal, natural gas or nuclear (power)."
Urlis says the cooperatives want to see more work in the renewables. He says the federal government needs to fund additional research to find more renewable technologies to reduce the amount of carbon emissions from current electric generation methods. Urlis says the national electric cooperatives organizations is asking for a two-billion dollar dollars per year in investment in research and development for the new technologies.
Urlis says the investment is not a lot to ask to create new sources of energy. Urlis says the National Association of Electric Cooperatives figures the investment would cost customers only $10 increase per year more on their bills. "So that’s a way we can all play a part in finding new technologies," Urlis says. Urlis says the coops are also talking about being more energy efficient.
Urlis says all electric customers and companies need to be more efficient, so there should be emphasis on creating more energy efficiency programs. Urlis says Iowa electric coops serve some 650,000 customers.