Allamakee Energy District hosts workshop for non-taxable entities to discuss energy planning options and funding currently available

Presentation by Allamakee Energy District ... Area non-taxable entities, including school districts, municipalities and other such entities, were invited to attend a workshop Friday, February 23 hosted by the Allamakee Energy District at AJ Bar & Grill in Waukon. Allamakee Energy District Outreach and Engagement Coordinator Jim Martin-Schramm (standing in center of photo) and Energy Planner Paul Cutting (seated at far right) presented information to those in attendance regarding energy planning examples and grant funding available to finance such energy plans, in addition to answering questions asked by those attending. Standard photo by Joe Moses.

by Joe Moses

The Allamakee Energy District (AED) held a workshop Friday afternoon, February 23 for non-taxable entities with representatives of city, county, and school district leadership, among other stakeholders, in attendance at AJ Bar & Grill, formerly AJ Steakhouse in Waukon.

AED Board Chairperson Lori Egan provided an introduction to the group of workshop participants with Egan noting the history of AED, which was incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2019 and was organized for charitable, scientific and educational purposes. Relating to AED’s approach in strengthening communities through locally-owned clean energy transitions, Egan noted a four-pronged approach used by the organization:
1. To educate and support leadership for the general public in implementing and accelerating locally-owned clean, efficient and fair energy transitions;
2. To partner and/or collaborate with other groups, agencies of the area including those state and nationally that support the purpose and goals of the organization in achieving direct outcomes;
3. Partnership with local clean energy leaders interested in the work of the energy district and with organizations supporting the development of the energy district model;
4. To share with existing energy districts and the public through enabling financial and technical tools, to provide coordination and other means.

Egan discussed the goal of this event in meeting with Allamakee County leaders and to provide information on the work being done by AED in providing information and resources in making municipalities, non-profits and low income housing entities aware of a grant awarded through the Just Transition Fund, an entity supporting local innovators and advocates in communities impacted by the closure of a coal fired power plant or that are in the process of transitioning away from coal as an energy source.

Jim Martin-Schramm, AED Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, discussed his background serving as a consultant for Clean Energy Districts of Iowa, as a Winneshiek Energy District Board member, and as recently retiring after 28 years serving as a faculty member at Luther College in Decorah. Martin-Schramm thanked Executive Director Val Reinke of Allamakee County Economic Development (ACED) in assisting with the coordination of the February 23 event.

Martin-Schramm noted the role of AED in providing expertise, guidance and resources for school districts, non-profits and low-income housing relating to clean energy options, renewable energy and energy efficiency. AED being one of 12 energy districts in the state of Iowa was also discussed, with more energy districts currently in development within the state.

Martin-Schramm talked about the $150,000 awarded to AED for the 2024 grant period through the Just Transition Fund to provide energy planning assistance for non-taxable entities (NTE) including municipal governments, school districts, churches and low-income housing and to assist with federal funding proposals for large projects. He further noted that the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Energy Efficiency Community Block Grant (EECBG) has been awarded to Clean Energy Districts of Iowa specifically for six Iowa counties, including Allamakee County, in addition to Vernon County in Wisconsin, in the amount of $1.1 million for the June 2024 to June 2026 grant period to aid non-taxable entities and low-income households with energy planning.

To read the full article, pick up the Wednesday, March 6, 2024 print edition or subscribe to our e-edition by clicking here.