Where the Power Comes From
Pella Cooperative Electric is a distribution cooperative. The electricity we distribute comes from CIPCO (Central Iowa Power cooperative) who is a generation and transmission cooperative. More than 95% of the power CIPCO provides to members is generated right here in Iowa, and nearly 40% of the electricity is generated from carbon free resources minimizing the impact on the natural environment.
Over half of the electricity that powers your home is generated at four coal plants operated by CIPCO in the state of Iowa. Coal is a primary source of power because it ensures a reliable electric supply and is less expensive than other technologies. Coal provides baseload power (power that is available 24/7 to meet consumer demand for electricity).
Just under one third of your electricity is generated at the NextEra Energy Duane Arnold nuclear facility in Northeast Iowa. Like coal, this facility is capable of producing baseload power to meet consumer demand. Nuclear is the only source of electricity that can produce a large amount of baseload power in a carbon-free environment. As our nation continues to address the climate change challenge, nuclear will surely be a necessary portion of our power portfolio.
A growing percentage of your electricity is generated with renewable sources. CIPCO currently obtains hydroelectric power through the Western Area Power Administration and wind energy through partnerships with the Hancock County, Story County, Rippey Wind, Hawkeye Wind and Elk Wind Energy Centers. Though the kilowatt hours produced from renewable sources can be more expensive than those generated from baseload technologies, CIPCO will continue to utilize these resources as part of the balance between reliability, affordability, and environmental responsibility.
Natural Gas & Oil (<1%)
Because of volatile fuel prices, natural gas and oil peaking plants are used only at times when demand for electricity is very high.
When demand for electricity is greater than what can be produced by CIPCO's generation fleet, electricity must be purchased on the open market. This is the most expensive power. If more generation sources are not brought online as consumer demand grows, CIPCO will be forced to purchase more energy on the open market which could increase the cost of your electric service.