Luther College has pledged $15,000 to Decorah Power, a local citizens group, towards a feasibility study of a Municipal Electric Utility (MEU) for Decorah.
An MEU is a community owned electric utility, of which there are 136 in Iowa.
Decorah has the option to consider an MEU because the 25-year electricity franchise agreement with Alliant Energy expires in 2018.
According to Decorah Power, a public electric utility could offer Decorah-area residents an opportunity to invest in local initiatives and promote local community ownership of Decorah's energy future. It could also help Decorah residents and businesses exercise local control over their sustainability and carbon reduction goals through locally owned electricity generation.
As the largest user of electricity in Decorah, Luther has committed to help develop Decorah as a sustainable community. The college is also constantly working toward reducing its energy consumption and being a clean energy role model.
"We see a municipal electric utility as a very exciting prospect for both Luther and the Decorah community and were happy to support the feasibility study. This is in line with Luther's sustainability goals, both fiscally and environmentally. We hope others in the community will see the value in supporting Decorah Power so that our community can have the facts as we evaluate the option of an MEU for Decorah," said Jon Jensen, director for the Luther College Center for Sustainable Communities.
The study will provide the necessary information to determine whether an MEU is possible and desirable for the Decorah community. After this study the information will be brought to community leaders to determine whether it is advisable to seek a referendum for a MEU.
Members of the community can join Luther in supporting the feasibility study of an MEU at