A Deliberately Different Approach for a More Sustainable Future.
A REALISTIC PATH TO A CARBONLESS FUTURE
Climate change didn’t happen overnight. Neither will full decarbonization of our electric generation capabilities.
For many decades, coal has powered the wheels of industry and brought previously unheard-of conveniences and technologies into our homes, schools, and businesses. But coal’s impact on our environment requires we move in a new direction—a direction that aggressively pursues innovation and a creative approach to delivering energy. Today, we find ourselves at the crossroads, transitioning out of the technologies that have been so familiar to us and into a future that is still to be realized.
But transitions are not new to our organization. Wabash Valley Power has been actively pursuing alternative energy resources since 1985, when we first partnered with our member cooperatives to design consumer programs to lower the demand for electricity during times of peak usage.
Today, far beyond those early programs, we have continued to seek creative ways to supply energy to meet the need for reliable, affordable, and environmentally-conscience resources. Through a combination of efficiency programs, the closure of coal-powered generators, expiration of contracts to purchase coal-generated power, and the adoption of renewable fuel sources, we’re on the path to achieving net zero emissions—without compromising our co-ops’ responsibilities to their members and the communities they serve.
Our Decarbonization Timeline
Demand response programs began helping our members beat the high-cost peak periods of energy usage during the day. These demand response initiatives continue today through our PowerShift program.
Partnered with Waste Management, Inc., to build our first landfill gas plant with the construction of Twin Bridges II in Danville, Indiana. We now have 15 landfill gas units capturing dangerous methane and generating 53 MW of electricity.
Signed our first contract for wind-generated energy (8.4 MW) with AgriWind in Illinois.
Signed our second wind energy contract for 21 MW with Story County located in Iowa.
Launched our Power Moves energy-efficiency programs that today account for nearly 2% of our overall supply needs, reducing the need to build costly baseload power plants. To date, over $35 million dollars have been returned to both businesses and residential members served by our distribution co-ops.
Signed our third wind energy contract for 10 MW with Pioneer Trail Wind Farm located in Illinois.
Closed our 210 MW coal gasification plant in Terre Haute, Indiana, eliminating the use of petcoke and moving to natural gas as a step toward responsible decarbonization. This capacity was replaced by a combination of resources, including the purchase of wind from Meadowlake V and solar.
Eliminated a 270 MW long-term coal contract that was replaced with solar and wind energy.
Launched our Co-op Solar community solar initiative by developing five local solar array sites in the communities we serve.
Purchased an additional 25 MW of energy from Meadow Lake V wind farm in northern Indiana.
Purchased 75 MW of wind energy from EDP Renewable’s Meadow Lake VI wind farm in northern Indiana.
Expanded the Co-op Solar program with three new community solar arrays, bringing our total number of owned solar arrays to 8 and providing an additional 7 MW.
Purchased 100 MW of power from the Harvest Ridge Wind Farm in Illinois.
Contracted to purchase 99 MW of energy from Dressor Plains Solar and 99 MW from Prairie State Solar, both in Illinois.
Coal-based contract for 55 MW expires.
Gibson Unit 5 coal plant in Owensville, Indiana, currently providing 156 MW of baseload energy, is expected to close.
Our Fuel Mix
**We invest in the development of renewable projects in a variety of ways. We have constructed several smaller solar arrays near the communities we serve, and we contract with energy producers for the electricity output from wind farms and large-scale solar arrays. Finally, we capture the methane gas that escapes from landfills and turn that gas into electricity. However, because we sell the majority of the renewable attributes associated with the electricity produced by these renewable power sources to third parties, we cannot “claim” those kilowatts that are generated as renewable within our supply portfolio. By selling these attributes, commonly referred to as “RECS,” we not only enable other organizations to meet their renewable energy goals, but also the revenue generated from these sales helps us to lower wholesale power costs to our 23 member distribution cooperatives.
Our Carbon Reduction Target
OWNED GENERATION AND ENERGY PURCHASED
CAPTURING POWER FROM WHERE YOU LEAST EXPECT IT
With Northern Indiana being home to large commercial dairy operations, we began working with several large dairy farms in 2002 to purchase the renewable energy created by their methane biodigesters. While the dairy farms have now chosen to retain the energy their biodigesters produce, this energy source speaks to the innovation that will be required to meet today’s climate directives.
Wind power has been part of our portfolio for many years. Since signing our first contract for wind power in 2006, we’ve continued to add wind to our portfolio through purchased power agreements with five wind development firms; today, wind energy meets 218 MW of our energy needs and we continue to explore opportunities as they arise.
Wabash Valley Power entered the solar energy arena in 2017 with the launch of our Co-op Solar program. Co-op Solar enables members to invest in solar energy as part of their monthly electric usage without having to add solar panels to their homes. In total, Wabash Valley Power has constructed eight solar arrays in Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. Each locally based array’s energy output is then aggregated into a single source. This aggregation of energy means that participating members aren’t dependent on the sun shining brightly only where they live: They get access to the energy produced across our three-state footprint.
We have continued to incorporate solar energy into our fuel mix with the addition of contracts to purchase 200 MW of power from the Dressor Plains and Prairie State arrays in Illinois. As our existing carbon-intense contracts come to a close, they will be replaced by zero-emission resources. The next opportunity for this transition will occur with the proposed closing of our jointly owned Gibson 5 plant in Owensville, Indiana, in 2025.
It should be noted that Wabash Valley Power sells the majority of the renewable attributes from our renewable energy resources as renewable energy credits (RECs), thus enabling other organizations to meet their renewable energy directives. Selling the credits into the REC market prohibits us from claiming these resources within our own power portfolio; however, revenue generated from these REC sales is used to reduce wholesale power costs to our 23 member cooperatives, reducing the cost of energy across the system.
For how many years have renewable resources been a part of wabash valley power’s fuel mix?
Answer: d. Starting with landfill gas in 2002, Wabash Valley Power has been supporting renewable energy for two decades.
PROTECTING RESOURCES WE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT
From creeks and ponds to scenic lakes to the mighty Mississippi River, the Wabash Valley Power territory is brimming with water resources. Water is one of earth’s most important resources— and we’ve been working continually to reduce our impact.
In 2016, Wabash Valley Power made the decision to convert our petroleum coke-fired gasification plant to a natural gas-fired plant, greatly reducing air emissions and eliminating the need to pull water from the Wabash River. With this change, we’ve stopped the potential to pull freshwater biota, such as fish and mussels, through the intake structure into the plant property and away from their natural habitat. This decision also eliminated the need to send water back into the river, which further eliminated the need to treat the river water.
SHARING OUR CORNER OF THE WORLD
While our first responsibility is to provide electricity to our member co-ops, we’re keenly aware that we share our world with flora and fauna, as well—and that the power we produce and use has an impact on their lives. Wabash Valley Power—and our member distribution cooperatives—participate in a number of programs to help foster and protect biodiversity in our region. They include:
WORKING HARD TO SELL LESS OF WHAT WE MAKE
WHY WOULD ANY BUSINESS WANT TO SELL LESS OF ITS PRODUCT?
When you’re an electric cooperative, that question is relatively easy to answer. We don’t exist to make a profit, but to instead provide electricity, as efficiently and reliably as possible. We’re not saying, “Never use electricity.” We’re saying, “Let’s not waste the kilowatt-hours we use.” By encouraging members to use electricity more efficiently, we help everyone across the system save money—and may even push back the need for a new power plant.
To provide even more support to co-op members, most of our distribution cooperatives have on-staff energy advisors—and Wabash Valley Power helps make sure they’re ready to help. We offer regular training to help energy advisors better understand new technology, techniques, and market changes, with presentations and workshops on heat load calculations, residential and commercial facility energy auditing, how heat pumps work, and more. We also offer building operator certification training to help co-op members save energy throughout their facilities.
- Geothermal Heat Pumps
- Air Source Heat Pumps
- Heat Pump Water Heaters
- New Home Construction
- Variable Speed Pool Pumps
- Dual Fuel Heat Pumps
- Geothermal Heat Pumps
- Lighting Controls
- Variable Frequency Drives
- Compressed Air Systems and Components
- New Construction
- Air Source Heat Pumps
- Economizers with Dual-Enthalpy Sensor
- Build Your Own Rebate
How much have co-op members received in Power Moves Rebates Since 2010?
Answer: d. Co-op members have used Power Moves rebates for a wide range of energy efficiency improvements that have saved them more than $32 million in the past 11 years.
East Perry Lumber
Savings Across the Board
For more than 70 years, East Perry Lumber has been a big employer in Frohna, Missouri. In 2017, CEO Stan Petzoldt learned about a new log carriage system that could cut hardwood timber into measured logs more efficiently while improving worker safety. The big issue: The cost of the new system was significant, raising questions about whether the business could afford the upgrades.
Power Moves and East Perry’s local electric co-op, Citizens Electric Corporation, made the difference. “It was a pretty expensive project for us, and we were on the fence as to whether or not we wanted to invest that much in a capital expenditure,” Petzoldt said. “We found out we were eligible for a rebate, and after that, it put us off the fence and we decided to go ahead.”
As a result, the company saved significant dollars upfront–and keeps saving year after year. The new, safer log carriage system uses 8.5% less energy, saving 306,600 kWh of electricity every year.
- Upgrading a hydraulic power log cutting carriage system with an electric system.
- Citizens Electric Corp.
- Upgrade to electric equipment that used less energy and qualified for a Power Moves energy efficiency rebate.
- Energy efficiency upgrade saved 306,600 kilowatt-hours (kWh) annually.
- Power Moves rebate that facilitated company officials’ decision to pursue the equipment upgrade.
- Lower energy costs from 13% decrease in demand and 8.5% decrease in energy usage.
Watered Down Demand
Shifting the Cost
Watering 3,000 acres of corn and soybeans at the Loehmer Dairy Farm in Monterey, IN twice a week comes at a significant cost for owner Maurice Loehmer. That’s why he jumped at the opportunity to enroll his 20 electric irrigators in the PowerShift program offered by his local electric co-op Fulton County REMC when they approached him a decade ago.
During a PowerShift event, participating devices are shut down for several hours in the peak of the day and can be turned on once the event is over. Program participants learn of the events in advance, so they can plan ahead. Demand-response programs help preserve natural resources, delay the need for new power plants, and keep electric costs lower for all co-op members.
“The irrigation program makes it much more cost effective,” said Loehmer. “I have never had an issue with crops needing water when the irrigators have been controlled.”
Drive in the park
Paving the Way to Progress
Mitch Melton had the perfect spot for his Rochester, IN landscaping business. The problem? He couldn’t get there. Blacketor Park needed to extend a road and add utilities to reach the site Melton had his eyes on. That’s where Fulton County REMC and the Fulton County Economic Development Corp. (FEDCO) came together to secure a $190,000 matching grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program.
Wabash Valley Power funded grant writing support and services to pursue the USDA grant, which will fund an 1,100-foot extension of Blacketor Drive, provide utilities to the business park’s undeveloped 32 acres, and create a community development fund.
“Getting that road and infrastructure in place unlocks land for development,” said Brian Anderson, director of economic development and public relations for Wabash Valley Power. “The project has a benefit multiplier.”
Taking Savings to the Street
It’s a fact: For street and security lighting applications, light-emitting diode (LED) lighting is more efficient than other options, such as high-pressure sodium outdoor lighting. LED lights are brighter, last longer, and use less energy.
Since 2016, Citizens Electric Corporation, based in Perryville, Missouri, has been upgrading street and security lighting throughout its territory to LEDs. Over this time, Citizens Electric has received more than $375,000 in Power Moves rebates from Wabash Valley Power for upgrading nearly 6,200 light fixtures. The upgrades save more than 1.9 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.
They also save money. According to Perryville City Administrator Brent Buerck, the city was spending more than $60,000 a year on street and security lighting. The new LEDs have saved the city over $20,000 a year.
- Retrofitting more than 7,900 street and security lights in communities and neighborhoods in southeastern Missouri.
- Citizens Electric Corporation
- Power Moves rebates for energy efficiency replacements that save 1.9 million kWh annually.
- Collaboration with local communities in Citizens Electric’s service territory to lower annual energy costs.
- More than $375,000 in Power Moves rebates for energy efficiency upgrades to communities’ local lighting infrastructure.
- Additional savings in long-term energy and lighting replacement costs.
Fleece Performance, a Pittsboro, Indiana manufacturer of turbochargers, has been growing 30 – 50% a year since their founding in 2008. With all that growth came the need for a bigger facility.
So when Fleece began planning their new 75,000-square-foot building, they contacted their local REMC—Hendricks Power—and members of the Power Moves team. The team includes a LEED-AP certified engineer to help develop building designs with more energy-efficient systems and work with contractors to ensure the equipment they install qualifies for rebates.
As a result, Fleece Performance installed energy-efficient lighting and a variable frequency drive on the air compressor that powers equipment throughout the facility. Those choices had some happy consequences: $25,000 in Power Moves rebates and ongoing energy and cost savings year after year.
- Installation of energy-efficient lighting and a variable frequency drive (VFD) on the air compressor powering equipment in a new 75,000-square-foot headquarters building.
- Hendricks Power Cooperative
- Consultation with the LEED-AP certified engineer on the Power Moves team early in the design process to best incorporate energy-efficiency elements into new building design.
- Energy-efficient upgrades to the facility resulting in 316,754 kWh of energy savings per year.
- $25,000 Power Moves rebate for energy efficient upgrades.
- Additional annual savings in reduced energy usage.
The Barn III
Lights, Camera, Savings
The Barn II in Goodfield, Illinois had been a dinner theater for 40 years when, in 2015, it was destroyed by a violent thunderstorm and tornado. But the show must go on—and owner Mary Simon found a new partner in Abby Reel to bring back the venue as The Barn III. The owners worked with Corn Belt Energy to create a custom LED theatrical lighting system that provides brighter lighting to the stage while using 97.5% less energy than the previous system, helping reduce the facility’s energy costs from about $4,000 to about $1,000 a month—on top of the upfront savings made possible by energy efficiency rebates from Power Moves.
“Abby and Mary have worked tirelessly to restore a longtime Central Illinois gem,” said Jeremy Myers, energy advisor for Corn Belt Energy. “It’s always great when we can work with business owners to help them accomplish their goals. This project was a terrific bonus by bringing back a local landmark with added offerings that will help people make even more great memories.”
- Efficient LED theatrical lighting system for The Barn III, a rebuilt regional dinner theater, plus additional LED fixtures throughout the facility.
- Corn Belt Energy
- Small Business Administration
- Installation of a customized LED theatrical lighting system, saving 11,000 kWh annually over a conventional lighting system.
- Installation of LED fixtures that are 40% more efficient than code throughout the facility.
- More than $5,300 in Power Moves rebates for multiple projects.
- More than 11,000 kWh in annual energy savings.
A Barrelful of Savings
A successful course on crafting sour Belgian beers inspired Matt Potts, CEO and brewmaster of DESTIHL Brewery, to develop a faster souring process for the company’s flavorful beers. The brewery then began selling its Wild Sour Series in cans in September 2014; demand grew so quickly that the microbrewery expanded its sales to 30 states. That ultimately led to the company’s most recent expansion that includes a $15 million, 47,000-square-foot destination brewery and beer hall.
DESTIHL worked with Corn Belt Energy, their local REMC, on upgrades including LED lighting, energy-saving variable frequency drives on motors used in the brewing and canning process, and energy efficient coolers and freezers. As a result, DESTIHL received Power Moves rebates of $25,000 in upgrades that will save $20,000 in annual energy costs.
Making Electric Connections
As a teenager, riding in her parents’ car steered Clare Little toward her career goal. It was a journey that started when, as a child, she would look at transmission lines and substations while glancing out the window on drives with her father, who worked in the utility industry. “I would always ask questions like ‘What’s that?’ and want to learn more,” Little said. “I decided to do something in the utility industry, and then I found out that I had a love of engineering.” That experience led Clare to major in electrical engineering at Purdue University—and three summer internships at Wabash Valley Power Alliance boosted her drive to reach her destination. Clare completed her first summer internship in 2019, her second in 2020, and her third in 2021, all with our engineering and transmission team. Among other projects, she helped create Google Earth maps showing transmission lines and routes in areas served by our distribution cooperatives that are still used by Wabash Valley Power engineers when planning projects.
Power Moves Home
A Solid Foundation for Savings
Retired contractor Don Acheson and his wife Clare were planning to build an energy-efficient new home on Fish Lake in LaGrange County, Indiana, when the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic sent lumber prices skyrocketing. Instead of using wood to build his home, Acheson chose insulated concrete forms (ICF) for the walls, which provide superior air sealing and thicker insulation than traditional building methods. He also opted for a closed-loop geothermal system, which uses a heat exchanger and the mild underground temperatures to heat and cool the home more efficiently than other equipment. The Achensons’ new home qualifies as a Power Moves Home, which uses an average of at least 20% less electricity than other newly constructed homes and is 79% more efficient than a resold house. They were told about the program by Jake Taylor, energy advisor at LaGrange County REMC. “Don already had this thing designed as a Power Moves Home, and he didn’t even know it,” Taylor said. “This was a slam dunk.”
Southwest Parke Community School Corporation
Use Less, Get Paid
In 2019, Riverton Parke Junior-Senior High School received nearly $4,000 in Power Moves rebates from Parke County REMC, their local electric cooperative, for upgrading school lighting to more energy-efficient LEDs. And that was just the beginning of the benefits of working with their local REMC. The school has saved thousands more by participating in the PowerShift demand response program that helps businesses and residences control their energy use during peak demand times when energy is most expensive. The program shuts down several large chillers, five air handlers, and conditioned water pumps when demand is highest, helping them save more than 8% in energy costs every year.
The Power to Make Life Better
As a career nurse, Marilyn Emmert treated many patients suffering health complications caused by a lack of exercise. That’s why, when she and her husband retired, they envisioned a new local community center in Albion, Indiana, that could help local people stay fit.
That vision became the Augusta Hills Learning, Recreation and Community Center, located in a renovated building that had previously been a golf course clubhouse. And to get things kicked off right, the project received more than $12,000 in energy-efficiency rebates from Power Moves and Noble REMC for LED lighting and a geothermal heat pump that uses moderate temperatures in the earth to heat and cool the building.
Renovations began in 2020 and were completed in 2021—but Noble REMC’s commitment started even earlier. The co-op’s employees devoted their 2019 Community Day to help clean and prepare the old clubhouse for renovations.
- Installation of a ground source heat pump for a new gymnasium featuring a full-size basketball court and elevated walking track; and interior lighting upgrades throughout the new community center.
- Noble REMC
- Power Moves rebates for energy-efficiency upgrades that save 43,877 kWh annually.
- Noble REMC employees volunteered during Community Day to clean up the former golf clubhouse and prepare it for renovations.
- More than $12,200 in Power Moves rebates for energy-efficiency improvements.
- Additional savings in long-term energy costs.
INDIANA STATE SANATORIUM
More Than a Ghost of a Chance
Opened in 1907 as a facility for patients with tuberculosis, the Indiana State Sanatorium in Parke County, Indiana, had been converted to a nursing home—then shuttered for several years when Cyndi Todd, executive director of Partnership Parke County, noticed it had been shuttered and owed back taxes. To help in redevelopment, Wabash Valley Power paid for a Phase I site assessment. The property eventually caught the eye of civil engineer Gregg Larson, who was looking for an historic property to rehab. Larson is currently working with Parke County REMC on energy planning and upgrades, in anticipation of preparing the buildings for weddings, receptions, and other large-scale gatherings. In the meantime, the site has attracted ghost hunters, military training exercises, and even a group of Viking reenactors.
Helping Train Young Leaders
At Wabash Valley Power, we’re proud of the role we and our distribution co-ops play in bringing reliable, affordable power to rural America. We’re passionate about the future of the region we serve—which is why we’re committed to Indiana FFA and its 12,500 young members. For the past several years, we’ve sponsored sessions at the annual Indiana FFA State Convention and three-day Foundations in Reaching Excellence (FIRE) conference that help develop skills and leadership qualities in children and teenagers. In addition, we hosted FFA officers to help them learn about the utility industry—and specifically about what makes electric co-ops different. Kara Baker, Wabash Valley Power communications manager, will serve as a mentor for a state officer in 2022.
“I am immensely impressed by the quality of leaders FFA develops,” Baker said. “It’s encouraging to see students who work so hard and who are really passionate about leadership, agriculture, and their communities.”
Transforming Landfill Gas to RNG
For two decades, landfill gas has been part of the Wabash Valley Power portfolio—capturing dangerous methane to generate electricity. Five years ago, employees learned landfill gas was being used to generate renewable natural gas (RNG). A new partnership between Wabash Valley Power and Kinetrix Energy, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KMI), will harness this technology at three new facilities in Indiana.
“We expect these facilities will produce renewable fuels that will ultimately replace approximately 28 million gallons of traditional diesel each year, lowering greenhouse gas emissions by about 280,000 tons,” said Aaron Johnson, president of renewable natural gas for KMI. “That’s like taking 60,000 vehicles off the road annually.”
“As our industry continues to transition to a sustainable future, enabling the creation of renewable energy is a significant point of pride for our organization,” said Brian Fitzgerald, executive vice president of engineering and operations for Wabash Valley Power.
SOUTHERN LIBERTY FARMS
Savings Against the Grain
For at least a week each fall, longtime Camden, Indiana farmer Jerry Sparks would end his day climbing exhaustedly into each of five grain bins to ensure that his corn was drying properly. That all changed in 2020, thanks in part to a rebate of more than $3,500 from Power Moves and Carroll White REMC for variable frequency drives (VFDs) installed on his farm’s new grain dryer system. VFDs control the amount of electricity going to a motor, providing the power that is needed, which boosts efficiency. The new VFD system replaced five in-bin grain dryers and eliminated the need for climbing in and out of bins.
“This was my wife’s dream to see this happen. It was the best move I’ve ever made,” said Sparks, who started working alongside his father on the farm that his dad started in the late 1940s. “I was stunned after the first season. I would never dream that they would ever be that efficient.”