About Us

The Clayton County Energy District (CCED) is a non-profit organization committed to strengthening our community through inclusively leading, accelerating and implementing the clean energy transition.

our vision

Include Everyone, Electrify Everything, Decarbonize Electricity

The CCED has a three-pronged community building mission:

  • To positively affect the local economy by retaining energy dollars in Clayton County.
  • To slow climate change by promoting wise energy use.
  • To include everyone.

We are currently searching for a new Clayton County Energy District board member! Are you looking for a way to make a difference and serve the common good in a tangible way? Send form to Joleen at joleenj@energydistrict.org

Clayton County Energy District Prospective Board Member Form

We are Keeping Energy Local & Clean

Clayton County Energy District Members Value

  • Retention and Reinvestment of energy dollars in the local community
  • Clean, renewable, locally owned energy for ALL
  • Sustainable & Wise energy use for the long term health of planet Earth

Program Manager – Joleen Jansen 563.880.7915 or email

In cooperation with and under the mentorship of Andy Johnson, Director of the Winneshiek Energy District

Meet the CCED Board

Joleen Jansen – Program Manager

Joleen lives south of Elkader near the Motor Mill. She and her husband, Jim are parents to three grown children. The couple owns a 9 kW solar array and heat and cools their home with a geothermal heat pump. Before installing their solar array they “reduced before they produced” by doing a total property LED transition and converted most of their appliances to electric.

Joleen created and manages Jansen Products, a local web development business.
In 1986, she earned a B.A. degree in General Science at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, and also graduated from St. Luke’s School of Medical Technology. After a few years of working in eastern Iowa hospital laboratories, as a medical technologist, Joleen began a career in public employment which included stints with the City of Dubuque and Winneshiek County, as an environmental sanitarian and zoning administrator.

Today, in addition to managing the Clayton County Energy District, Joleen has accepted the charge to work as the coordinating coach for new energy district startups in eastern Iowa.  She has always worked to build community as an active community volunteer.

Five or six years ago, Jim and I decided to “go solar” after attending a Winneshiek Energy District solar workshop. It was during that time I learned about the Energy District concept. I remember thinking I wonder if this idea could spread across county lines. One thing led to another and the opportunity to form an Energy District in Clayton County developed!
Working with the CCED, I have found it pretty easy teaching communities about the beauty of our “green meets green” philosophy. Everyone loves the “win win” scenario of emitting less carbon, and saving money on a utility bill.  The question begs, ‘why send hard earned dollars out of the community to pay for energy costs?’ Energy districts are showing people how to reduce energy consumption and paving the road for clean energy generation.
At the same time energy districts understand not everyone can afford roof top solar but that doesn’t mean they can’t save on their utility bill and emit less carbon. Everyone and anyone can create a more energy efficient living and working environment, and we are showing them how to do it. Regardless of socioeconomic status, energy districts prioritize fair access to clean and local energy. The ultimate dream is to have an Energy District in every county in the nation just like the extremely important soil and water conservation districts of America!”

Dr. Jim Osterhaus – Guttenberg – Chair

I am a retired dentist and live with my wife, Sue, in Guttenberg. We installed geothermal heat and air conditioning and a solar array in 2007 when we did a major remodeling project on our house. The payback on both projects is complete and we are now reaping the rewards of renewable energy. I serve on the board of the CCED because I have long been a conservationist and I completely agree with the mission of providing clean, efficient, affordable and local energy.

Harry Blobaum – Strawberry Point – Past Chair

I serve on the CCED board because I have a keen interest in alternative energy and energy efficiency. As a member of the Northeast Iowa Funders Network, it was my privilege to gather together persons of Clayton County who might be interested in promoting clean, fair and locally owned electric energy. I am a retired high school math educator, having taught in Neenah, WI. My wife, Elle, and I moved to the Strawberry Point area in 2002. I am privileged to be a representative from Strawberry Point on the board of CCED.

Randy Lenth – St. Olaf – Vice Chair

As a city manager and member of a municipal power agency I oversaw municipal utility projects and developed community solar policies. Serving on the County Energy District Board allows me to continue this work and promote solar initiatives.

Elaine Funke – Edgewood – Treasurer

Elaine is the Financial Services Vice President at Community Savings Bank. Elaine has help finance numerous solar projects.

Dr. Ken Zichal – Elkader – Secretary

Ken Zichal, MD, moved to Elkader June 28, 1978 opening a Family Practice Clinic and working at Central Community Hospital. Dr. Zichal retired after 38 years of practice in October, 2016. He joined the Energy Board as one of the original board members in 2016.

Ron Kaiser – Garnavillo

Ron is a retired dairy farmer and a Clayton County Soil and Water Conservation Commissioner. Ron serves on the CCED board of directors because he knows the Energy District is helping residents realize the benefits of energy savings. Energy savings can be both environmentally and economically beneficial! He is especially excited by the advancement in the solar industry and the many applications for individuals, municipalities and businesses large and small.

Tom Klingman – Volga

As a co-founder of a local not-for-profit economic development organization for rural communities in NEIA, I have a great appreciation for the large economic impact of Clayton County Energy District. As a long time conservationist, I enjoy the opportunity the Energy District provides to increase awareness and focus on bringing green energy to our local communities.

Gary Passmore – Monona

I for the Rural Electric Cooperative in Northeast Iowa as Member Services Director for over 34 years answering many energy & usage questions. The changes in efficiencies of appliances & the new technologies that have evolved has always been something that I have tried to pass along to our member consumers for the REC. With the Clayton County Energy District I have found a group of people that want to help in similar ways.

I served on the board of Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation, Past President of the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives members services section & selected as a committee member for the Annual Energy Conference (for all trade and interested people) held in Des Moines, Past President and council member of St Paul Lutheran Church.

Fran Zichal

Fran Zichal moved to Elkader in June, 1978. Fran is an RN, BSN, working at Central Community Hospital since moving to Elkader. She spent the last 20 years as CEO of the hospital. She retired in 2017 and came on the Energy Board shortly thereafter.

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