“Powerful New Perspectives” was the theme for the 71st Corn Belt Power Cooperative Annual Meeting April 4 at the Best Western Starlite Village, Fort Dodge. The meeting’s theme reflected on events from 2017, including the addition of new transmission infrastructure and growth of commercial and industrial load on member cooperatives’ lines.
Corn Belt Power recorded strong kilowatt-hour sales in 2017, with a total of 1,947 million kilowatt-hours of electricity sold to its member systems, down slightly from the 2016 record high sales total of 1,962 million kilowatt-hours.
Corn Belt Power’s 2017 system peak occurred on Nov. 6 at 6 p.m. at over 325 megawatts. The late fall peak reflected crop drying during a later than typical corn harvest. Unusually cold weather also contributed to the peak total.
During the meeting, patronage checks were distributed to member cooperatives, totaling $1,288,420 from 2004, 2005 and a portion of 2006 deferred patronage.
Scott Stecher, president, Corn Belt Power board of directors, spoke about the importance of growth in commercial and industrial load served by member cooperatives. He said, “Although historically Corn Belt Power and its members served primarily small farms and residences in rural Iowa, our new perspective today shows that more than 67 percent of the power our member co-ops sell serves commercial and industrial accounts. We’ve seen significant growth in electric sales to the poultry industry, pork production and ethanol plants.”
Kenneth Kuyper, executive vice president and general manager, discussed how low market prices affect operation of coal-fired power plants. He said, “Although changes in the energy market have affected how we operate our generation, one thing that remains constant is the value of diversity in our fuel sources. Diversity allows us to respond to constantly evolving perspectives on what fuel source is the most valuable at any given point in time.”
During the business meeting, member cooperatives re-elected Larry Rohach as the director representing Grundy County REC, and Brad Honold as the director from North Iowa Municipal Electric Cooperative Association.
Following the business meeting, the Iowa Area Development Group presented Project Development Impact Awards to Corn Belt Power Cooperative, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, Midland Power Cooperative, Prairie Energy Cooperative and Webster City Municipal Utilities for economic development projects in their communities.
Officers elected during the reorganizational meeting following the annual meeting were Stecher, Clarion, Prairie Energy Cooperative, president; Dale Schaefer, Rockwell, Franklin REC, vice president; Jerry Beck, Spencer, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, secretary; David Onken, Glidden, Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative, treasurer; Larry Rohach, Reinbeck, Grundy County REC, assistant secretary/treasurer; Kuyper, executive vice president and general manager; Karen Berte, senior vice president, finance and administration; Kevin Bornhoft, vice president, engineering and system operations; Kathy Taylor, vice president, corporate relations; Mike Thatcher, vice president, generation; and Jim Vermeer, vice president, business development.
Byron Reese, futurist and entrepreneur, served as guest speaker. He spoke on how to excel in the world of tomorrow and how to deploy technology successfully.
Corn Belt Power, headquartered in Humboldt, is a generation and transmission electric cooperative that provides power to nine rural electric cooperatives and one municipal electric cooperative serving farms, rural residences, small towns and commercial/industrial members in 41 northern Iowa counties. The member cooperatives served by Corn Belt Power are Boone Valley Electric Cooperative, Renwick; Butler County REC, Allison; Calhoun County REC, Rockwell City; Franklin REC, Hampton; Grundy County REC, Grundy Center; Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, Estherville; Midland Power Cooperative, Jefferson; North Iowa Municipal Electric Cooperative, Humboldt; Prairie Energy Cooperative, Clarion; and Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative, Glidden.