About Us


We envision one hundred percent sustainable, efficient, and/or renewable energy by 2050 contributing to a vibrant economy, resilient community, and stable climate for generations to come.


Our mission is to implement the vision through education, energy planning, market transformation, investment, advocacy, and partnership in Dubuque County, and also to catalyze and support an energy district movement in Iowa and beyond.


The Dubuque County Energy District will:

  1. Collaborate with partners to provide energy audits and weatherization services with a focus on low-income and at-risk residents.
  2. Educate the public about the economic, social, and environmental benefits of sustainable, local energy.
  3. Work with small businesses & nonprofits to improve their access to sustainable, local energy and energy efficiency.
  4. Improve access to energy resources and services for farms and rural residents.


Energy Districts are grassroots non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship and energy system sustainability. The Energy district movement in Iowa began in 2010 with the founding of the Winneshiek County Energy District, founded by Andy and Paul Johnson as the pilot Energy District. The locally-led Energy District movement models a “universal local” approach to the sustainable, renewable energy transition. It’s a model built off the understanding that the most effective change is that which happens on the local level through local leadership. Together we will create strong, resilient communities through the expertise, knowledge, help, and support of our neighbors.

Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) emerged from the Dust Bowl and Great Depression as the key local change-makers in what rapidly became a locally-led but nationwide struggle to combat soil erosion. The SWCDs still protect both natural resources and economic health of landowners and communities today.

Nowadays we face another perfect storm of economics and resources as the potential for rising energy prices coincides with human-induced climate change.  Winneshiek County created the nation’s first Energy District as a way to address these challenges locally through implementing energy efficiency measures and supporting renewable energy throughout the county.  An Energy District movement holds great promise to provide local leadership for a sustainable renewable energy transition that will benefit our rural communities and environment.


Building upon the leadership in Winneshiek County, other community leaders in northeastern Iowa are forming energy districts. Clayton County established an Energy District in 2016. Dubuque County has convened a board of directors was founded in 2018. We look to make an impact in our county and collaborate with community stakeholders.

Local leadership of a state and national scale has been missing. Districts will build a movement to help and inspire our neighbors from the ground up. They will be in it for the long haul, be free of political influence, dependent upon public and private collaboration, and absolutely passionate about transitioning quickly to a sustainable energy society.

A network of Energy Districts will share approaches, experiences and resources. Many of those resources ought to come from partner organizations at higher levels. From development of uniform technical energy analysis and planning tools, to the training of energy conservationists, to managing extensive database/IT networks, state and federal agency support is critical to a national network of energy districts.  Major funding for “boots on the ground” and financial incentives will also need to come from these higher levels to enable the retrofitting and re-energizing America.