Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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EKPC Planning 60-Acre Solar Farm

East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) has announced plans to build a solar project consisting of 32,000 photovoltaic on 60 acres next to its main office.  EKPC will allow customers to purchase licenses to receive power from the project and receive credits on their monthly bills for doing so, offering them the opportunity to participate in a voluntary program similar to other utilities’ rooftop solar programs.  EKPC plans to finance the project using tax-advantaged New Clean Renewable Energy...
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Cooperative CEO Urges Congress to Authorize FBI to Assist in Identifying Utility Insider Threats

On July 12, before the Senate Energy Subcommittee, Duane Highley, CEO of Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp., requested that Congress consider legislation that would allow the FBI to assist in background checks for personnel that perform critical functions.  Highley cautioned the senators to avoid a one-size-fits-all strategy as the insider threats are both the biggest threats and hardest to identify for critical infrastructure owners and operators.
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Tennessee Coops Encouraged by Findings and Recommendations of Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development recently issued a report finding that regulatory barriers hinder electric cooperatives from providing broadband internet access to their members.  The Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association issued a press release praising the report, stating that “[c]o-ops have a legacy of expanding critical services beyond the city limits. A generation ago, the issue was power; today it is broadband.”
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Hawaii Consumer Groups Push for Coop Utility after Failed Merger

Since a merger between NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric failed, consumer groups in Hawaii are considering next steps for the state’s largest utility and creating the state’s second electric coop.  The island of Kauai currently has an electric coop that was formed in 2002 when it bought the local utility for $215 million.
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Following Halo Decision, Power Meter IP Suit Settles

Denton County Electric Cooperative Inc. and other energy companies have settled patent infringement allegations (subscription required) involving power meters following the Supreme Court’s June Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc. decision.
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Missouri Coop Selected for USDA Small Business Program

Bourbon, Missouri-based Crawford Electric Cooperative has been selected to participate in a USDA’s Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) program.  Through the REDLG program, the USDA makes interest free loans to utilities that they in turn lend to local businesses to promote employment and growth in their communities.
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GRE to Retire North Dakota Coal Plant

Minnesota generation and transmission cooperative Great River Energy (GRE) has decided to retire its Stanton Station, a coal plant located near Bismarck, North Dakota.  The 189-megawatt plan served GRE’s customers in Minnesota.
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Colorado Coop Offers Ultra-Fast Internet Access

Colorado’s Delta-Montrose Electric Association plans to provide one gigabit broadband internet to members this winter.  It will take approximately five years for the cooperative to construct the facilities necessary to provide access to all of its members, however.  Doing so will require overlaying 4,000 miles of distribution line with fiber cables connected to individual homes.  Once completed, the project will provide access to approximately 33,500...
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NRECA Partners With Department of Energy

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) will be partnering with the Department of Energy and the American Public Power Association to enhance protection of the electric grid from attack.  The partnership will give the nation’s electric cooperatives access to cybersecurity technology and training.
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Storm Slows Urea Plant Progress

Construction progress at a urea plant owned by a Basin Electric Power Cooperative subsidiary was set back when a storm with wind speeds clocking at almost 80 miles per hour hit the site over the holiday weekend.  The plant, when complete, will produce 380,000 tons of urea annually.
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Environmental Compliance Costs Rise above $6 Billion

The Energy Information Administration reports that power plant operators nationwide have spent at least $6.1 billion to comply with new environmental regulations, including the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard.  Operators have also retired 20 gigawatts of coal generation capacity during the period from January 2015 through April 2016.
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Appellate Court Upholds FERC Ruling Regarding “Right of First Refusal”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a rule preventing utilities from relying on a “right of first refusal” for transmission projects in Southwest Power Pool’s region, opening up competitive bidding.  Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. and other utilities sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in December 2014, arguing that it gave up some transmission planning rights in exchange for the right of first refusal, but FERC argued the rights created a pre-existing barrier to entry for non-incumbent transmission...
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Federal Appellate Court Overturns Minnesota Law Restricting Imported Power

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision finding that a Minnesota law that prohibited sales of coal-based generation into a regional market violated federal statutes and interfered with interstate commerce.  Basin Electric Power Cooperative and Minnkota Power Cooperative argued that the law had detrimental impacts on power generators across the Midwest but may now serve its members with the necessary mix of cost-effective and reliable resources.
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Kit Carson and Tri-State Announce Split

Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (Kit Carson) and Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association (Tri-State) jointly announced that they have reached an agreement that will sever ties between the two organizations and will terminate a wholesale electric service contract.  Kit Carson has been a member of Tri-State since Tri-State merged with Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative in 2000.  Details as to the sale of transmission and distribution assets, as well as to the operating agreements on jointly owned infrastructure, are being completed and the organizations hope to...
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