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Energy Department Honors Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative with 2011 Wind Cooperative of the Year Award

March 9, 2012

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized the Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative yesterday with the 2011 Wind Cooperative of the Year Award. The Energy Department and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) presented the award at the TechAdvantage 2012 conference on Thursday afternoon in San Diego, Calif.

This eleventh annual award honors the Iowa-based utility for its installation of a 21-megawatt wind energy project in only 18 months, making the Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative the first electric distribution cooperative to design, finance and complete a wind energy project of this size over such a short period. The project took an innovative approach using existing substation infrastructure, which allowed the cooperative to avoid building an expensive transmission-level connection to the electrical grid and saved approximately $5 million.

The Wind Cooperative of the Year Award, created by NRECA and DOE's Wind Powering America outreach and education initiative, recognizes electric cooperatives that demonstrate outstanding leadership in advancing wind power in the United States. The criteria used to judge the nominees include corporate leadership, creative marketing approaches, project innovation, and benefits to customers. A panel of experts from the wind industry, government, DOE's national laboratories, and electric cooperatives selected Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative for the award from a field of 12 NRECA-member electric cooperatives nominated from across the country. More information is available on DOE's Wind Powering America website.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. Learn more about DOE's efforts to research, test, develop, and deploy innovative wind energy technologies.

—Julie Jones