Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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NRECA Argues Cooperatives Should Qualify for FCC Broadband Funds

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has provided comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Phase II of the national competitive bid process for the Connect America Fund.  In those comments, NRECA has argued that electric cooperatives that are already exploring providing broadband service to rural areas should be able to qualify for available funds being administered under the program through a competitive process.  For more on NRECA’s recommendations to the FCC, click...
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Minnesota Cooperative Completes Major Transmission Line

Minnkota Power Cooperative recently completed a 250-mile transmission line from Center, North Dakota to Grand Forks, North Dakota.  The 345-kV line, which has been lauded by U.S. Senator John Hoeven, is the largest transmission project in the state’s history.  For more information, click here.
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Minnesota Utilities Embrace Solar

Minnesota’s electric utilities have significantly increased their investments in solar projects recently.  Investor-owned utilities’ increased interest in solar may be driven by a 2013 state law requiring investor-owned utilities to get 1.5 percent of their electricity from solar power by 2020, while cooperatives’ increased interest seems to be driven in large part by increased demand from members, especially for community solar gardens.  Click here for more.
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Coops Challenge FERC’s New ROE Calculation

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has signaled that it intends to change the methodology with which it calculates utilities’ return on equity (ROE), eliciting concern from the electric cooperative community.  In a June 19 order involving New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, FERC used a new “two-step” method to calculate the ROE for oil and gas pipelines, and the commission has suggested that the same method would be used in cases involving two other electric cooperatives, Tampa, Florida’s Seminole Electric Cooperative and Amarillo, Texas’ Gold Spread Electric Cooperative. ...
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Proposed Regulatory Changes Spark Concerns for New Mexico Coop

Jemez Mountain Electrical Coop is concerned about proposed changes to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) regulations. BIA states that the revised regulations would update and streamline the process of obtaining rights-of-way on Native American land, but Jemez Mountain believes the modified process will result in future utility-related costs. The Rio Grande Sun has the full story.
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Georgia Coop Takes Out Ad Against EPA Rule

Oglethorpe Power was among a group of power companies that took out a full-page advertisement in the Atlanta Journal Constitution in opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule curbing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The ad ran on August 10 and outlines several concerns related to the rule, including its adverse impacts on reliability and rates. Click here for more information.
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Utility Officials Claim New EPA Rule May Cause Shutdown of Arkansas Power Plants

Utility officials from Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) and Entergy Arkansas told an Arkansas legislative panel that the new EPA carbon emissions rule could cause the shutdown of at least two power plants in the state.  After hearing the testimony of the officials, the House and Senate committees on insurance and commerce adopted a resolution expressing opposition to the proposed rule.  To read more about this story, please click here.
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BNSF Railway to Increase Coal Shipments to Dairyland Facility

BNSF Railway has pledged to increase shipments of coal to the Genoa facility of Dairyland Power Cooperative.  Dairyland is confident that the increased shipments will allow its Genoa facility to continue operating through the winter.  The increase is due to pressure from the federal Surface Transportation Board.  To read more, please click here.
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With Support of Coop, Iowa Farmer Powers Irrigation with Solar Energy

An Iowa farmer is powering his irrigation system with solar power generated by a twenty-two panel array on his property.  Western Iowa Power Cooperative has entered a ten year net metering deal under which it will purchase any excess power generated by the array.  Click here for more.
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Mississippi Coop to Receive FEMA Funds for Severe Weather Cleanup

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved over $2.43 million in Disaster Relief Fund grants to be distributed to the City of Tupelo and the East Mississippi Electric Power Association to fund debris removal and utility repairs necessitated by tornadoes and severe weather that hit northeast Mississippi in April.  Click here for more.
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Coop Solar Facility Completed June 30

A solar facility consisting of 1,880 solar panels was completed this summer as a result of the joint efforts of Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services, People’s Energy Cooperative and Tri-County Electric Cooperative.  The facility is expected to produce about 682,000 kWh a year. Dairyland Power Cooperative has agreed to purchase all of the facility production.  Please click here to read full story.
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Electric Coops Speak Out Against EPA’s Proposed Carbon Emissions Rule

Representatives from dozens of electric cooperatives from around the country spoke at public hearings conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.  The general consensus was that the proposed EPA carbon emissions regulations will result in adverse cost increases for electric cooperatives and their members.  To read more about this story, click here.
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Georgia Coop Enters Solar Deal

Georgia coop GreyStone Power Corporation has entered into a long-term power purchase arrangement with Green Power EMC to buy energy from a solar farm being developed by owner-operator Silicon Ranch.  Click here for more information on the GreyStone transaction and here for more information on a similar deal between Jackson EMC and Green Power EMC.
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NRECA-Backed Endangered Species Bill Passed by House

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill entitled the 21st Century Endangered Species Transparency Act requiring more transparency in certain matters of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The bill would require, among other things, the public release of certain information, including the data used to determine the species listed under the ESA and information about ESA lawsuits.  The bill also seeks to increase the involvement of state and local governments in ESA processes and to reduce ESA litigation expenses.  The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has...
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