Alliant Energy: Helping Grow Local Business and Conserve Energy
Monday, September 17, 2018
Alliant Energy provides electricity and natural gas to 83 of Iowa’s 99 counties. Ottumwa is the company’s regional hub for southern Iowa. Alliant Energy employs over 100 people between the operations center and Ottumwa generating station.
The energy company works closely with the communities it serves to plan for future development. It also gives back to these communities, offering beneficial community grants and educational programming.
As an energy provider for the Ottumwa area, Alliant Energy is a key partner in area economic development. “The more businesses we help bring to town, the more the energy costs are spread out for all customers, which allows us to be more efficient and cost effective with our rates,” explains David Vollmar, key account manager for the Ottumwa area.
Alliant Energy provides technical assistance to local economic development groups to ensure there’s adequate energy available for companies looking at locating to an area. It also assists economic developers with finding funding for labor shed and housing studies and for marketing efforts.
Beyond providing energy and helping with economic development projects, Vollmar notes that Alliant Energy is “quite involved with the communities we are privileged to serve,” both through its foundation and other initiatives like the Hometown Rewards program.
The Alliant Energy Foundation gives grants to community nonprofits in three specific areas: helping families, education and the environment. Vollmar says the foundation is particularly interested in funding Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programming. Indian Hills Community College received a grant for its recent summer STEM camp for youth.
In February, Ottumwa began participating in the company’s Hometown Rewards program, which has the goal of reducing community-wide energy usage. Alliant Energy provided funds to Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress to hire a part time person to spearhead this effort in Ottumwa.
This representative has been educating both residents and businesses about ways to improve energy efficiency through rebate programs and energy audits. Plans are already in place for several light bulb exchange days, where people can bring in old bulbs and receive new LED replacements.
The initiative’s goal is to reduce energy consumption by a certain percentage over the course of two years. If Ottumwa effectively meets its goals, it will receive $25,000 in grant funding to invest in energy-saving projects.
Sharon Stroh, Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation’s executive director, notes that the program is an excellent opportunity for the city. She’s hopeful it will reach its target so it has a chance to access funds to improve the efficiency of public buildings. Other communities have used grant funds for solar street lights or to install solar panels on public buildings.