The citizens group "Decorah Power" is currently in the process of hiring a consultant to do a feasibility study of starting an electric utility in Decorah. The results would be available by the end of the year--but any referendum on the issue would come in 2018.
In the meantime, Alliant Energy officials met with Decorah Power representatives and City of Decorah representatives Tuesday morning at the request of Alliant. Alliant Director of Operations Brad Morgan told the meeting he wanted to find out if Alliant "could meet the goals you say you want to reach," adding, "If there's something we could do, we're open to that."
Alliant had previously rejected a proposed "Winneshiek Shareholders" solar energy farm in Freeport that would generate solar energy for five participating organizations. Morgan said the proposal was rejected because it did not meet Alliant's goals--not because Alliant doesn't support solar energy or working with community groups.
Decorah Power representative Andy Johnson said he's not sure whether Decorah residents would be interested in solar projects such as the one Alliant is building in Dubuque, because that project does not allow participants to qualify for renewable energy (tax) credits. Johnson also said he thought Decorah Power would be able to move "farther and faster on sustainability."
Despite some areas of disagreement, the two sides had a cordial meeting. At this point, the Decorah City Council has delayed any decision on extending Alliant's franchise agreement with Decorah until early next year at the soonest.