How a member-owned electric cooperative made efficient electricity incentives a top priority.
Farmers and ranchers formed America’s electric cooperatives more than 75 years ago, as a strategy to secure electricity and bring stability to rural communities. MiEnergy, a co-op based in the Southeastern corner of Minnesota, and serving Northeastern Iowa as well, has been carrying power to its 18,700 member-owners since 1936.
Now MiEnergy is vocally committing to an all-electric future by making sure their members have access to incentives and rebates for the efficient use of electricity. The co-op has also shown its support of electric vehicle ownership, and is setting a replicable model for other energy providers across the region.
See how they’re making it happen…
Electrification for member-owners
MiEnergy has developed a vision for an all-electric future and is taking action to get ahead of the curve to meet their member-owners’ needs.
The co-op recognizes that electric vehicles will play a big role in Minnesota’s transportation sector and they’re actively educating their members about the benefits of electric vehicle ownership.
MiEnergy offers special time-of-use electricity rates to their members who own electric vehicles, allowing them to charge their cars cheaply, at night and on the weekends during off-peak hours. They’ve also built in incentives for members looking to recoup part of the cost to install electric charging stations at their home or business, making electric transportation a more affordable option.
Inside their members’ homes and companies, the co-op encourages the smart and efficient use of electricity. MiEnergy offers rebates for agriculture and commercial businesses who install new, energy efficient equipment, as well as for residential members looking to purchase electric, energy-efficient appliances, like water heaters, washers, dryers, and refrigerators. They support members installing ultra-efficient, electric air source heat pumps or geothermal systems, too!
Electrification at the office
MiEnergy is working to “walk the walk” on electrification. This summer, the co-op purchased two electric Chevy Bolts as company cars, and their staff frequently field questions from community members on the in-and-outs of driving electric.
They’ll soon be installing two public charging stations at their offices in Rushford, Minnesota and Cresco, Iowa, making sure electric vehicle owners have a dedicated space to charge up.
MiEnergy’s generation mix of electricity is steadily getting cleaner, as new solar and wind resources come onto the grid. Currently, the co-op purchases power from Dairyland Power Cooperative, who have planned renewable projects in 2019 that will add 200 megawatts of clean energy to their energy generation mix.
Brenda Tesch, Public Relations Director, says MiEnergy is constantly “seeking ways to embrace the changes we are seeing for the future of the transportation sector.” Adding electric cars to their company fleet allows staff to understand how the technology works themselves so they can better serve as a local resource to their members.
“It is a challenging yet exciting time to be in the electric industry,” remarks Brenda. “Advancing electrification efforts is about listening to our membership and determining how these trends can benefit members so we can aid them in this transition.”
Fresh Energy is committed to advancing the transition to renewable electricity and electric transportation, finding win-win solutions that benefit consumers, create local jobs, and create a flexible and resilient electric grid. Large scale change involves utilities of all sizes and Fresh Energy is proud to highlight the work that Minnesota companies are making to move toward an all-electric economy that prioritizes efficiency. Find out more at our Take Action page.