Study says electric cooperatives contributed $1.2 billion to state’s economy
At a time when other businesses in Iowa were retrenching and reducing their payrolls, the state’s electric cooperatives were showing significant signs of growth in both investment and income during 2009, according to the latest Economic Impact Study released today by the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives.
For example, the payrolls, purchases and deliveries of services by electric cooperatives resulted in a $1.2 billion impact throughout the state’s economy. Compared to previous studies, that’s a 48 percent increase since 2006 and a 95 percent increase compared to 2003.
The association commissioned the first Economic Impact Study in 2003 – and the second in 2006 – to measure the economic influence of the state’s electric cooperatives on the lives and well being of rural Iowans. All three editions of the study were produced by Strategic Economics Group, which is headed by Harvey Siegelman, former state economist of Iowa.
“The statistics and charts in the latest version of the Economic Impact Study show that electric cooperatives are generating some pretty big numbers for Iowa’s economy,” said Marion Denger, president of the association.
The study revealed these key findings:
With news reports continuing to focus on job losses and jobless benefits, Iowa’s electric cooperatives have a different story to tell. They helped create and retain nearly 8,000 jobs during 2009, more than two-thirds of which were outside the utility industry.
Since 1989, Iowa’s electric cooperatives have invested a total of almost $98 million in loans and grants, resulting in the completion of local projects – such as spec buildings, parks, factories, clinics and hospitals – worth $928 million.
Iowa’s electric cooperatives contributed more than $10 million to community programs during 2009. Co-ops were the local investors that provided a helping hand for projects ranging from creating scholarships and supporting schools to promoting tourism and building industrial parks.
Compared to the previous year, the number of privately owned renewable electric generation facilities – wind, solar and methane recovery – interconnected to electric cooperative lines more than doubled during 2009. The total generation capability of these installations is 7.5 megawatts – enough electricity to power about 1,700 homes for at least a year.
Iowa’s electric cooperatives have developed a five-year plan to invest $71.5 million in energy-efficiency programs for homes, farms and businesses across the state. The $14 million average annual investment for 2010 through 2014 is a 30 percent increase over the amount for 2008.
“The investments electric cooperatives make – and the benefits they provide – stay in our local communities,” continued Denger. “Iowa’s electric cooperatives will be an important contributor to the vitality of Iowa’s economy for many years to come.”
The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives was formed in 1942 to represent the interests of, and provide support to, electric cooperatives in the state. As a whole, electric cooperatives provide electricity to approximately 650,000 Iowans in 210,000 homes, farms and businesses in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.