Iowa Lakes Electric member on move from Germany to Iowa

One might ask why a business would move halfway across the world to set up shop.

About five years ago, Torben Baumann and his wife, Betti, moved over 4,500 miles from Germany to Spirit Lake, Iowa, with their young son. The Baumanns moved to Iowa to start the second location of HiPer Ceramics, a business Betti’s parents started in Germany in 1995.

And why Iowa? Baumann says there are quite a few reasons. One is that Betti’s family is from Iowa, so there are social structures there. And, since it is a family-operated business, having extended family to talk to and help out was a big factor.

Torben Baumann
Torben Baumann, production manager for HiPer Ceramics, stands in the company's Spirit Lake location that produces materials used for prosthetics, such as hip implants.

Personal reasons played a big part in their decision to make Iowa the location for the American branch of HiPer Ceramics, but the move was ultimately made due to the increases in cost and the decreasing reliability of electricity in Germany over time. Baumann says high-quality, reliable electricity is a necessity for the business, and Germany’s decision to transition away from nuclear and coal to rely almost solely on renewables and natural gas has caused major reliability issues.

Since Baumann has moved to Iowa, natural gas prices across Europe have become volatile due to the war in Ukraine, and the cost of electricity has been up to three times more in Germany than he is paying in Iowa. He says the electricity the plant receives from Basin Electric Class C member Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative is both reliable and affordable, and he is pleased with the service he receives.

Read more in the Fall 2023 issue of Basin Today: Iowa Lakes Electric member is pleased with the co-op's reliability and affordability

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