Introducing the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa!!

(This article is based on words by CEDI chairperson, Lyle Luzum)

The Energy District concept is spreading like wild fire and this means good things for our Midwestern communities! In March of this year, and after a year of regional clean energy district leaders meeting to discuss the advancement of the non profit community strengthening efforts, the group moved to organize an association of clean energy districts.

With Nathan Cummings Foundation, grant funding secured through a strong partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque and led by the established energy districts in Winneshiek, Howard, Clayton and Dubuque counties the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa (CEDI) is an officially incorporated, non profit organization in the State of Iowa. CEDI aims to: develop more county line defined energy districts, provide a template, or toolkit, for easy replication of energy districts, and to serve as an overarching resource for topics regarding clean energy policy, technology and advocacy.

The Clean Energy District all began in 2010, when the Winneshiek Energy District (WED) was formed tolead, implement, and accelerate the clean energy transition in Winneshiek County. One additional part of their mission has been to help others understand the concept of an energy district, create a replicable model, and to assist other counties who want to start one.

Currently, Energy Districts are operational in Allamakee, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson, Johnson, Delaware and Winneshiek counties. Other counties continue to inquire. In addition, interest in the energy district concept has come from Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois. Plus, the energy district model has even been recognized as part of a larger solution by some presidential candidates. Note: CEDI and association energy districts, while grateful for the recognition, does not endorse candidates.

Because of the growth in energy districts, it became clear that an association of energy districts is needed to support the energy district formation and operation process. Additionally, the energy district concept is increasingly finding support among regional and national level funders who want to support what energy districts represent, but cannot easily duplicate their support among each individual county organizations. An umbrella organization is needed.

The result is the newly formed Clean Energy Districts of Iowa (CEDI). Because the Winneshiek County Energy District is the “mother ship” of this concept and still contains much of the expertise, Andy Johnson, founder and Executive Director of WED also now serves as Executive Director of CEDI. Lyle Luzum, WED Board Chair, is serving as initial Chair of CEDI. Jim Osterhaus (Clayton County Energy District), Dan Splinter (Dubuque County Energy District), Jim Wolfe (Howard County Energy District), Craig Moser (Johnson County Energy District) and Larry Gritton (Delaware County Energy District), are also serving terms on the board of directors. Joleen Jansen is working as the coach for emerging and developing clean energy districts.


Officially the Clean Energy District’s of Iowa association defines its purpose as follows:
“To enable and support leadership and the general public in implementing and accelerating the locally-owned, clean, efficient and fair energy transition through:

  • Continued development of the concept of Energy Districts as local institutions leading the clean energy transition in every county.
  • Partnership with local clean energy leaders interested in starting an Energy District, and with organizations supporting the development and spread of the Energy District model.
  • Service to existing Energy Districts and their public through enabling technical and financial tools, network coordination, and other means.”