Energy utilities keep the lights on and the jobs coming

6 Feb 2020

Community, Development, Economic Development, Jobs, Partnerships, Utilities, Workforce

On the edge of many small Iowa towns is an industrial park with a cluster of manufacturing companies. How did they get there?


You can thank in part your local energy utilities, essential partners in economic development. The same folks who keep the lights on also keep the economy growing.


That’s particularly true here in the Lakes of Northwest Iowa where we are blessed to have energy utilities that are innovative, aggressive and generous. Dare we say they are energetic?


The Corridor is proud to include seven energy providers among our membership: Spencer Municipal Utilities, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, Corn Belt Power Cooperative, Black Hills Energy, Alliant Energy, Milford Municipal Utilities, and ITC Midwest.


This group provides significant funding to sustain our professional economic development services. Along with MidAmerican Energy, they also offer grants for special projects and tuition reimbursement to keep our team trained and knowledgeable.


But the really, REALLY BIG investment the utilities make is in the distribution infrastructure and the developable land to serve Iowa’s growing manufacturing and agricultural sectors. In Spencer, for example, Green Industrial Center is jointly served with electricity by SMU and ILEC, with Black Hills pumping in the natural gas.


Over on the west side of town, Corn Belt Power Cooperative first put spade to dirt in Spencer Tech Park North, home of employers such as Demco Products, MWI, Engineered Seals Co., and IsoNova, more than half a century. With that location filling up, they prepped another 70 acres in Spencer Tech Park South.


When a manufacturing opportunity comes into the Corridor, the utilities are among our first calls. They provide critical info on capacity and rates and they do it with urgency and accuracy. Like I said, they are essential partners.


So here’s a lightbulb idea: When we wake up tomorrow morning, let’s whisper a quiet thank you to our local utilities that our houses are warm and the coffee is brewing. And while we’re at it, let’s say thanks for the tens of thousands of jobs they make possible here in the Corridor.