Clayton County Energy District Benchmark & Community Impact Report


Clayton County Energy District’s three prong overarching “building community” goal:
To positively affect the local economy by retaining & reinvesting energy dollars.
To positively impact climate change through the promotion of wise energy use.
To facilitate fair access to clean local energy.

As a result of The First Step Home Efficiency Program

150 homes assessed and counting!

2703 LED bulb replacements

$12,500  saved on lighting bill   

$3680 water bill savings

146 ton CO2 emmission reduction

$140/household savings

$16,238 total household energy bill savings/yr


Created using the Donation Thermometer plugin,000LEDsRaised 5,000LEDs towards the 5,000LEDs target.5,000LEDsRaised 5,000LEDs towards the 5,000LEDs target.100%LED Light Bulb Initiative

We are completing our initiative to put 5,000 LEDs into the light sockets of Clayton County! With this initiative, the county can save roughly $417,500 over the next thirteen years and realize a 4200 metric ton reduction of carbon emissions!



Current Clayton County Solar Install Map (add your project!)


Proposed 2020 Benchmarks
(funding dependent)


  1. Conduct 20 residential energy audits and direct installations
  2. Implement 5 farm energy plans
  3. Conduct 6 Small Business Energy Coaching Sessions
  4. Partner 20 local clean energy information and education  events to include at least 1 solar fair, EV Festival,  Clean Energy Transition Speakers Series, CCED info campaigns
  5. Maintain the 5 Permanent Swap Stations & deliver 3500 LED’s to CC households
  6. Expand local membership investment to $10,000
  7. Clean Energy Contractors ~ Business Members – 4
  8. Silver Level Sol-Smart designation for Guttenberg, Monona & Elkader
  9. Help frame and institute a ratepayer energy efficiency program in Guttenberg
  10. Continue Clayton County’s solar installations and Home Efficiency Audits
  11. Analyze Initiate an Electric Vehicle Market and infrastructure plan including employer EV Charging stations
  12. Provide outreach for the Energy Ratepayer Bill of Rights
  13. Promote tourism industry by managing the establishment of (4) EV Level 2 dual port pedestal charging stations in 4 Clayton County tourism destinations 


Additional Objectives & Detail:

  • Consider regionalized services for adjacent energy districts 
  • ED Expansion/care:As the 2nd Energy District in the nation, we endeavor to serve as a role model for other counties
  • Pursue local grant funding and allocation Clayton County Foundation for the Future, Upper Mississippi Gaming Association, Clayton County Board of Supervisors
  • Participate, Coach & Lead Clean Energy Districts of Iowa
  • Strengthens ED’s position IUB Energy Efficiency Fund Allocation Docket. The IUB should offer an RFP to qualifying TSP providers, like local energy districts; This is a large scale sustainable funding source
    • Provides a better basis for pursuing large foundation dollars
    • A statewide organization of Clean Energy Districts provides leverage for a future
    • legislature with authorization CED legislation for the universal local model
      Reduce duplicity
  • Public Engagement & Education
    • Farm, Residential, Commercial & NTE – connecting with Utility Energy Rebates; Solar Power promotion – tax credits
    • Collected contact info at various events throughout the year for Home Energy Assessments and Farm Energy planning
    • Clayton County Fair presence
    • REC Partnership & Municipal Utilities
    • Host a regional Green Living Workshop & Home Tour
    • Benefit the Clayton County LMI population by connecting them to home energy assessments and LED swap
    • Solar storytelling, business spotlights, solar inventory/ interactive web map


  • Advocacy
    •  Continued Research and Analysis for authorizing legislation for the formation of energy districts in every Iowa County
    • Iowa Ratepayer bill of rights
    • Ongoing Legislator relationship building
    • Continued Solar Tax Credits


Annual Report of Activities


January 2020

  • Energy talks in Vernon County, WI & Linn County Iowa
  • Host a booth at Energy Efficiency Day at the State Capitol
  • Recruit participants for Guttenberg First Step EE program
  • Continued State Table steering committee
  • Add: “Include Everyone, Electrify Everything, Decarbonize Electricity” to our visionn

February 2020

March 2020

  • Iowa Net Metering becomes Iowa Law
  • Prepared several grant apps around Electric Vehicle Market, Main St. Coaching & Energy Ratepayer bill of rights
  • Proposed EV charging stations in Clayton County’s tourism destinations
  • Would have attended a day of clean energy jobs advocacy in Washington, DC – cancelled due to COVID 19
  • Met with Rep Finkenauer District Director regarding Clean Energy Transition & Job & Ratepayer rights

Focus: COVID 19


January 2019

February 2019

  • Defended Net Energy Metering (NEM) against Iowa Statehouse anti NEM legislation
  • Conducted SolSmart orientation & planning meetings with Elkader, Monona and Guttenberg city leaders
  • Met the Strawberry Point City Council to explain Energy District work and discuss potential First Step Home Efficiency Program proposal
  • Shared First Step Home Efficiency Program success model with Dubuque County Energy District
  • Fine tuned with WED First Step Home Efficiency Programming and Fee Schedule
  • Developed programming calendar for 2019
  • Initiated plans for Energy District Learning Tour for Rep Abby Finkenauer
  • Established relationship with ACEC regarding TSP for rural residential energy assessments
  • Assisted in the planning for incorporation of Clean Energy Districts of Iowa association
  • Filed IA Secretary of State Biennial report
  • Hired communication specialist for CCED
  • Gave a Energy District 101 presentation the Edgewood Economic Think Tank group
  • Participated in Iowa Environmental Council Legislative Round Table Discussions

March 2019

  • Hosted Quarterly Energy Breakfast for Rural Residents in Edgewood; Pat Shaefers, NCRS & John Molumby, ACEC
  • Filed a pre-application for First Step Home Efficiency Program grant assistance with the Upper Mississippi Gaming Corp
  • Worked with the City of Guttenberg to provide residential ratepayer access to energy efficiency program
  • Awarded a $1000 grant from the Clayton County Foundation for the Future to support the CCED residential LED lighting transition via permanent swap station at the Clayton County Food Shelf and mobile swap stations
  • Communicated with Rep Anne Osmundson, Rep Mike Bergan and Michael Breitbach regarding the anti-net metering bill
  • Attended the Farm Bureau legislator forum to speak out against anti-customer owned solar laws
  • logged our first sustaining supporting member John and Jane Metcalf
  • Presented Clean Energy District 101 presentation to Edgewood Economic Think Tank Group
  • Participated in Iowa Environmental Council Legislative Round Table Discussions


April 2019

  • Worked with City of Guttenberg to develop a fair net metering policy, allowing several residential solar policies to proceed
  • Continued work with Elkader, Monona & Guttenberg to advance their SolSmart National Designation application
    Elkader and Monona are studying options to solar power several municipal
  • Helped to incorporate the Clean Energy District of Iowa Association
  • Organized a Trivia Night fundraiser for Clean Energy Districts
  • Received a $4000 award from the Nathan Cumming Foundation for the equitable energy efficiency programming
  • Represented the Clayton County Energy District at the incorporation meeting for the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa incorporation meeting
  • Gave presentation “Building Community with your Energy District” presentation to the Elkader/Guttenberg PEO group
  • Participated in Iowa Environmental Council Legislative Round Table Discussions
  • Established Clayton County Food Shelf permanent bulb station
  • Hosted a learning session for Rep Abby Finkenauer

May 2019

  • Appointed to the Iowa Clean Energy State Table Leadership Team
  • Met with the City of Marquette to document their solar install on well #4 discuss future solar plans for the city & to prepare them for their upcoming participation in the Solar Powering local infrastructure Webinar
  • Attended the Alliant customer listening session regarding the proposed 20% rate hike
  • Trained new CCED communication specialist
  • Continued work with Elkader, Monona & Guttenberg to advance their SolSmart National Designation application
  • Co-Hosted the Solar financing options for Iowa municipalities Webinar – 35 attendees
  • Planted the seeds for the Jackson County Energy District
  • Assisted the Delaware County Energy District in prep for their 1st event
  • Advanced the Solsmart applications for Monona, Elkader and Guttenberg

June 2019

  • Planned and hosted the joint SolSmart Energy Breakfast in Monona
  • Grant report presentation to the Clayton County Foundation For the Future
  • Advanced to the final round for UMGC grants
  • Continued work with Elkader, Monona & Guttenberg to advance their SolSmart National Designation application
  • Incorporated the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa – Jim Osterhaus serves at vice chair
  • Hosted a “Replace our Ride” concert at Deb’s Brewtopia Elkader, for the GIA team
  • Hosted the 2019 Solar Learning Day and Solar Crawl


July 2019

  • Prepared grant application for the UMGC for 5000 LED’s into the light sockets of Clayton County
  • Continued work with Elkader, Monona & Guttenberg to advance their SolSmart National Designation application
  • Attended Equitable Storage Webinar
  • Attended a Results Based Accounting Workshop
  • State Table Attendance


August 2019

  • Attended the Translating Across Boundaries convening bridging the gap between academia and action organizations
  • Hosted a booth at the Clayton County Fair gave away LED’s to FFA &4Hers; displayed solar storage operation, promoted energy efficiency & solar projects and contractors
  •  Began energy tour coordination
  • Developed logo and branding for the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa
  • Jackson County Energy District is incorporated
  • Attended the Maquoketa Valley Electric COOP annual meeting
  • Met with Allamakee Clayton REC director
  • Pitched projects for Clayton Best students – hand powered display for LED vs Incandescent
  • Submitted UMGC – LED transition app
  • Attended Elkader P&Z meeting for Solsmart
  • Continued work with Elkader, Monona & Guttenberg to advance their SolSmart National Designation application

September 2019

  • Continued work with Elkader, Monona & Guttenberg to advance their SolSmart National Designation application
  • Attended Electrify Iowa Conference for Beneficial Electrification
  • Hosted Community Foundation of Nebraska reps – Introducing Energy Districts
  • Attended a ReAmp network Utility Shutoff call
  • Toured presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg introduced energy district
  • Wrote grant apps for Clean Energy Projects/Tours

October 2019

  • Pitched Energy Districts to JoDavies, IL & Grant Co Wisconsin & Polk Co. IA
  • Met with CC Env Sanitarian regarding county utility scale solar and wind ordinance
  • Hosted the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa booth at Growing Sustainable Communities Conference – DBQ
  • Clean Energy Tours for local Leaders – Allamakee & Clayton County
  • Developed Fundraising plans using materials designed for ED by Stanford Univ Intern
  • Received the UMGC grant $6000 for LED transition project
  • Helped develop a policy platform for the Clean Energy Districts of Iowa


November & December 2019

  • Elkader, Monona & Guttenberg  obtain Bronze level SolSmart National Designation
  • Coach Allamakee, Delaware and Jackson Energy Districts
  • Presentations at Extreme Weather event – Illinois
  • Presentation to Iowa County, WI  clean energy crowd
  • Clean Energy Good News Energy Breakfast
  • Began Fundraising campaign

Accepted grant $ & donations


January 2018


February 2018

  • Budget Session
  • Membership Drive Planning Session

March 2018

  • Farm Energy Breakfast with Joel Zook – 30ish attendees
    Business & Supporting Member placards developed and displayed at all public events
  • Prepared a pre-app for Upper Mississippi Gaming Corp – to fund a permanent LED Swap Station at the CC Food Shelf – Goal supply 5000 LED bulbs to low income residents or 4/household=1250 households Economic Benefit @ $5.60/bulb=$28,000/yr savings
    (not awarded)
  • Community Energy Planning with the UNI Center for Environmental & Energy Education & Eric Giddins (Strawberry Point, Elkader, Guttenberg, Monona, McGregor, Marquette)
  • Developed and Introduction to the CCED presentation


April 2018

  • Organized the 5/4 Solar for Non-Taxable Entities…Let’s Get Started Workshop
    Paying less for energy = more for your mission = better for the community = better for the world
  • Community Energy Planning with the UNI Center for Environmental & Energy Education
  • Eric Giddins (Strawberry Point, Elkader, Guttenberg, Monona, McGregor, Marquette)
  • Presentation to the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital Foundation


May 2018

  • 5/4 Solar for Non-Taxable Entities…Let’s Get Started Workshop 65+ attendees
    Energy Savings=
  • Town of Volga, St Paul Lutheran considering solar…many other leads to come
  • SolSmart Community Partner application – pitched the idea to several local governments
  • Managed a booth at the Music & Monarchs Festival & LED Bulb Swap


June 2018

  • Membership Drive Organization Continue
  • Communia Neighborhood Energy Audit Blitz
  • Home Energy Breakfast and Garnavillo Auto/ FreeWind Solar presentation
  • Guttenberg SolSmart Community & Home Energy Efficiency program discussion

July 2019

  • Clayton County Solar Map data collection begins


August 2018

  • Clayton County Fair in partnership with Clayton County CAN
  • Solar Panels on Display at the Fair – credit Wufekuhle Electric
  • Volga City Truck Cruise in partnership with Clayton County CAN
  • SolSmart Grant grant recipient

Sept 2018

  • Marquette Town Council moves forward a Solar Power Well Projec
  • Guttenberg COU/Landlord/Energy District Rental Unit Lights & Water project approved & planned
  • Membership Renewals
  • Fundraisers planned
  • Joined the RE-AMP Clean Energy State Table Grant dollars received
  • Board bio’s added to the website
    St Paul’s Lutheran – Monona conducted an Energy Assessment in advance of solar generation


Oct 2018


  • Met with Guttenberg City Council – Introduced EE partnership program, Sol-Smart technical advice provided for their Net Metering policy
  • Local Sourcing – LED & faucet & shower head aerators
  • Attended a RE-Amp energy efficiency roundtable
  • 10/17 Iowa Clean Energy State Table – Energy Efficiency Meeting
  • Fundraisers held 10/15 & 10/16 – $5150 raised 11 donors each from North and South

November 2018


  • Direct Install Blitz at 37 apartment units in Guttenberg –
  • Legislator Solar Tour with IEC & Iowa Community Action – Sen Mike Breitbach & Anne Osmundsen
  • GIA conducted 7 Home Energy Assessments and Direct Installs
  • Annual Board Reorganization Meeting


December 2018

  • Guttenberg City official EE & Solsmart summit
  • Electric Vehicle Breakfast – Johnson’s (45) in attendance best attendance to date
  • Xmas Light recycling project – collection sites in every town including one at the County Transfer Station – quadrupled at least our collection efforts – 400+lbs collected up from 90lbs in 2017
  • LED Giveaway at Shepherd of the Hills “Xmas Just for Kids” 200 families received 3 LED Bulbs and education




January 2017

  • Hired Program Coordinator – Contracted Service with Jansen Products/Joleen Jansen  position is compensated to work 4 hours a week to do the work of the CCED.


Feb 2017

  • Co Hosted Legislative Listening post at Johnson’s. Around 80 people in attendance GIA team collected home energy assessment


March 2017

– Visited Daren Bockenstedt  Hog Farm/ Final Electric, Edgewood Locker, Community Savings Bank, Signs and Frames – luncheon and press conference

  • March 18, 2017
    LED Lighting Workshop 36 attendees ( farmers, homeowners, business, gov officials etc), Vendors and Facebook Live Event

April 2017

  • Began meeting with commercial “Main St.” businesses, institutions and organizations to encourage LED transitions. Moser’s, Rock a Dot, Carter House, Rivals – Strawberry Point, Premier Ag Systems
  • Joel Zook audited the Clayton Lighthouse for perspective new owner
  • Throughout the year met or talked on the phone with Guttenberg, McGregor, Edgewood, Elkader & Strawberry Point


May 2017

  • Website redesigned and established & redirected
  • Promoted the upcoming Farm Energy Fair
  • Managed a booth at the Music & Monarchs Festival


June 2017



July 2017

  • Completed portion of USDA- Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI) Grant App: RCDI Engagement and Planning Tools for Resilient Communities- CCED
    (not awarded)
  • Started to organize our new 4 for 4 light bulb swaps by coordinating with Norby’s, Elkader to be an outlet for low cost 60 watt equivalent LED light bulbs. Eventually coordinated with Fisk Farm and Home, Monona.


August 2017

  • Co hosted a Clayton County Fair booth with Clayton County CAN focused on Farm Energy Planning & LED transitions – Collected 40 some names of local residents interested in farm energy planning, home energy assessments or joining the distribution list


September 2017

  • New board members: Recruited new board members from Monona – Gary Passmore, Volga – Tom Klingman, St. Olaf – Randy Lenth
  • New board recruits represent underrepresented geographic locations in the county & provide expertise in the area of energy planning.


October 2017


November 2017

  • Began “Business Member” spotlight program to be fully implemented 2017
  • Promoted and attended a Lunch Learn in Guttenberg by CCED business member Eagle Point Solar
  • Held a partner exhibit booth at the Clayton County Annual Meeting
  • Harry Blobaum represented the CCED in Des Moines at a gathering of the evaluation committee of the Solutions Project.  ( At this meeting, Andy J. was on a panel to discuss what we are doing in Iowa regarding clean energy and efficiency.  They are all about efficiency and clean energy and after concentrating on the states of NY and CA, they are interested in Iowa.


December 2017


December 2016

  • Attended the Iowa Energy Conference – This conference focused on justification of Local & Clean Energy Districts & hosted several state legislators to discuss the formation of enabling legislation for a quasi governmental energy district in every Iowa county.
  • Decorah News covers the creation of CCED