- Western Iowa Energy
Western Iowa Energy
Western Iowa Energy, located in Sac County, Iowa, employs 31 skilled people in Wall Lake, Iowa and has the capacity to produce 45 million gallons of biodiesel annually. It is a BQ-9000 accredited producer of biodiesel.
WIE was the brainchild of several community leaders in 2004. By 2005, more than 700 investors, mainly local farmers, pooled their money to begin construction. The plant is vital to the community’s economy, especially the workers, contractors, vendors, transportation entities and others who patronize the businesses of Wall Lake. Unlike much of Small Town America, Wall Lake is thriving, according to the company. In 2021, WIE began a project to quadruple its rail spur size on the Canadian National Railway that will allow railcars of feedstock to be unloaded and utilized on site.
WIE also operates Agron Bioenergy in Watsonville, California. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard there has made California the epicenter for biodiesel demand, driving the company’s decision to expand outside of Iowa.
"Our success over the last fifteen-plus years is due to our outstanding board of directors and the outstanding community we call home. We’re proud to produce biodiesel, which is helping many states hit their carbon reduction goals by reducing the carbon intensity of emissions." -Brad Wilson, President & CEO
WIE values community involvement in rural Wall Lake, a community of about 800 residents. In 2019, the company organized a food drive for local pantries. Early during the pandemic in March 2020, WIE’s glycerin was sent to the state of Iowa to be used by Iowa Prison Industries in the production of hand sanitizer during the national shortage.
The company also established a Monarch Fueling Station spanning roughly four acres at its plant near Wall Lake. Employees planted native grasses and milkweed since monarch butterflies can only lay their eggs on milkweed, and their facility lies in the migratory path of the threatened monarch.
“Biodiesel production is all about turning the seemingly useless into something useful,” said Kevin Bieret, Operations Manager of WIE. “We transform agriculture coproducts into green fuel. Our Monarch Fueling Project does the same thing: It turns something we would have to mow into habitat to help fuel monarch butterflies. We are excited to take the next step toward providing much-needed habitat for monarch butterflies and other pollinators.”