At Tuesday night’s Board of Water, Electric and Communications Trustees meeting, the Trustees were presented a summary of Muscatine Power and Water’s (MPW) ongoing sustainability efforts. Recently, Gage Huston, general manager, and Doug White, director of power production and supply, presented the Utility’s history of sustainability initiatives at a Sustainability Workshop hosted by Bayer US – Crop Science (Bayer).

The presentation highlighted the three area of focus for the Utility – beneficial reuse of
by-products, energy conservation and the Utility’s Powering the Future strategic initiative.

An example of the Utility’s success of repurposing by-products is the coal combustion residue (CCR) landfill. Constructed in 1985 with four planned phases, the CCR landfill was expected to be full in 20 years – around 2005. In 2019, only the first phase of the landfill was covered, nearly 30 years after anticipated.

Its useful life has been extended through reduction and beneficial use of by-products such as fly ash, bottom ash and gypsum.

MPW’s long-standing energy service program has helped customers reduce energy consumption. In the last 10 years, customers have received $1.5 million in rebates, and the upgrades completed will save nearly $3.8 million annually through energy efficiency and demand reduction efforts.

“MPW has a history of partnering with customers and other stakeholders to provide sustainability solutions,” shared Huston. “We look for opportunities to continue these partnerships as sustainability goals increase in importance.”

Consistent with its track record of sustainability efforts, MPW recently announced the expansion of their renewable energy portfolio. The Utility entered into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Nokomis Energy for the Muscatine Solar 1 project, MPW’s first utility-scale renewable project in Muscatine. The signing ceremony was the culmination of years of planning and negotiation to develop the project concept and identify commercial terms beneficial to MPW customers.

Partnerships with local industrial corporations made the Muscatine Solar 1 project possible. Grain Processing Corporation (GPC), HNI Corporation, and Bayer have each signed on as anchor participants, with a long-term commitment for a share of the output of the new solar project. Huston stated, “For decades, Muscatine has continued to benefit from having these three great companies operate in our community and their support of the Solar 1 project now allows Muscatine to take a huge step forward in renewable energy growth.”

The addition of solar energy to MPW’s portfolio aligns with its Strategic Plan to responsibly invest in renewable energy. “The signing of the PPA is an exciting next step forward in our Powering the Future plan and serves as a major milestone in bringing the Muscatine Solar 1 project to life,” said Huston. “While we are still in the initial phases of this project, we want to keep our community updated on this important renewable energy investment.”

MPW’s Choose Green – Business program has been rolled out to all large commercial and industrial customers, giving each of them the opportunity to be a partner in this historic project. For all other customers, they can sign up at any time to MPW’s existing Choose Green program and opt to have a share of their energy usage come from MPW’s renewable portfolio. The Green-e® Energy Certified renewable energy program empowers customers to cover all or a portion of their electricity used with renewable energy. Currently, that energy comes from MPW wind, but when Solar 1 goes into service, it will become a part of that program as well.

To learn more, visit Choose Green Renewable Energy for Business or contact Paul Burback, Energy Services Advisor, at 563-263-3423.

Muscatine Solar 1 also supports MPW’s ambitious sustainability goal of reducing carbon emissions by 65% by 2030 while balancing the need for reliable and affordable service upon which all our customers rely.

Since 2017, about 5.5% of MPW’s customer electric energy needs were met from MPW’s wind portfolio. Muscatine Solar 1 would more than double the renewable energy in MPW’s portfolio to an estimated 11-12% of MPW’s annual customer energy needs once the project goes into service.

Construction on the 24,000 kilowatt solar installation at MPW’s Grandview Avenue Wellfield is anticipated to begin in Q4 of 2024, with an operational target of Q4 2025.

The October financial results for MPW were reported to the Board. The Change in Net Position (or net loss) was -$1.9M. A loss in October was expected due to maintenance being performed on Unit 9 the entire month. The loss was $0.3M better than what was budgeted for the month. For the year through October, the Change in Net Position (net income) was positive at $7.6M.

In other Board business, the Trustees:

  • Authorized the Water Utility to enter a loan agreement for $2M from Electric Utility
  • Approved the 2023 Annual Operating Budget for Water, Electric and Communications Utilities
  • Approved the 2023 Budget Estimate Summary for the Water, Electric and Communications Utilities
  • Appointed Trustee Tracy McGinnis to the MAGIC Governing Board