Concern for community is at the heart of our cooperative business model, which is why the safety of our member-owners and employees is our top priority. A commitment to safety is present in every aspect of our business, whether it involves linemen working on power poles and lines, workers in our offices, or member-service personnel educating students about ways to stay safe around electricity. Protecting people, equipment and property is at the forefront of our daily business activities.
In recent years, we’ve been tying more renewable energy into our portfolio, and today, some member-owners are exploring the option of owning a wind turbine or solar system. Each type of energy source, including wind and solar, requires careful consideration of the unique safety needs of that particular resource. For example, at our coal-fueled generating facilities, employees are equipped with extensive personal protective equipment to prevent injuries unique to working in a power plant. We follow strict state and federal standards to ensure safety is not compromised.
The State of Iowa provides oversight of all electric utilities to protect employees and consumers from safety issues. The Iowa Utilities Board also has adopted safety standards, and your board of directors further adopts safety policies at the local level.
Each type of generating source also has specific requirements. In the case of a rooftop solar system, the International Fire Code requires a construction permit, specific signage and markings, properly spaced access points, and smoke ventilation, just to name a few. All renewable energy generation systems within the state must have a safety inspection by either a local city inspector or the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?
Because of the diverse requirements, if you are considering investing in a renewable energy system for your property, contact Access Energy Cooperative at the beginning of your research and planning process. We will help you to understand the necessary requirements to ensure your system is safely and properly interconnected to the power grid. Iowa law requires that customers notify their electricity utility before interconnecting any generation source and that an interconnection agreement is in place. These measures are to ensure the safe and reliable operation of the system and to protect our member-owners and employees who interact with the power grid. If our linemen are not aware of an interconnected system, they could be at risk of a serious injury when working on the distribution system.
Contact a member of the Access Energy Cooperative team today if you would like more information about renewable energy.