Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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Eleventh Circuit Rules Co-op Members Are Not Entitled to Immediate Cash for Profits

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit dismissed (subscription required) a case brought by members of the Central Alabama Electric Cooperative (CAEC) against the central Alabama utility for distributing excess revenue by crediting the members’ capital accounts rather than making cash payments. The court found that Alabama law 37-6-20 does not require CAEC to distribute such patronage funds only in cash, but rather in the manner provided by the bylaws, which specifies that excess revenue be distributed to the patron’s capital...
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KIUC Executes Agreement to Construct Hybrid Solar and Energy Storage System

Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative has executed a power purchase agreement with AES Distributed Energy, Inc. for a plant that will provide solar energy plus a battery-based energy storage system. The project will consist of 28 MW of solar photovoltaic energy and a 20 MW five-hour duration energy storage system....
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WEC Installs Fourth Electric Vehicle Charging Station

Washington Electric Cooperative (WEC) installed its fourth electric vehicle (EV) charging station on December 9, 2016. This project was aided by a $147,000 grant from the Vermont Low-Income Trust for Energy. This EV charging station is strategically located at Harwood Union High School in Duxbury, Vermont. By helping to develop an infrastructure that makes EV usage more practical, the co-op hopes to encourage an increase in the number of EVs on the roadways and reduce overall...
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Bluebonnet Electric Released from Liability Related to 2011 Wildfire

The Smithville school board members voted to release Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative (Bluebonnet) for any liability related to the 2011 Bastrop County Complex Fire.  The fire was caused by trees that fell on Bluebonnet’s power lines during high winds in the middle of the driest 12-month period of any area in Texas’ history.  Dareld Morris, a school board trustee, acknowledged that the school board “never had any intention of going after...
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AECC Acquires 173 MW of New Wind Capacity

Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) recently acquired access to 173 MW of new wind capacity from wind farms located in Oklahoma. The farms are owned and operated by Enel Green Power North America, Inc. and began commercial operations this month. The anticipated energy output for these farms is about 720 million kWh per year, which is enough to provide energy to more than 58,000 households. This project is in line with AECC’s goal to achieve diversification of its energy portfolio in order to provide affordable and reliable wholesale power to Arkansas’ distribution...
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Kentucky PSC Approves Big Rivers Expansion

Big Rivers Electric Corp. (Big Rivers) has entered into an agreement with Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency to sell power to nine new cities.  The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) recently approved the deal which will help Big Rivers utilize excess generating capacity.
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San Miguel Power Association Adds Solar Project for Qualified Low-Income Residents

San Miguel Power Association (SMPA), the Colorado Energy Office and GRID Alternatives announced a 200 kW community solar array to be located on a closed landfill in Norwood, Colorado. SMPA had been looking for a way to make renewable energy available to more of its members while keeping utility bills affordable. A $1.2 million grant from the Colorado Energy Office in August 2015 has now helped solar installer GRID Alternatives partner on six low-income community solar...
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Iowa Electric Co-ops Plan January 1 Merger

Tri-County Electric Cooperative, based in Rushford, Iowa, and Hawkeye REC will merge to become MiEnergy Cooperative on January 1, 2017. The two electric cooperatives had already been pooling resources for more than a decade to help save on costs and shared the same CEO, Brian Krambeer, for the past seven years. Krambeer stressed the announcement makes the cooperatives stronger and better prepared for the future....
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Kentucky Public Service Commission Approves EKPC Sale of Solar Leases

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has approved a proposal that allows East Kentucky Power Cooperative Inc. (EKPC) to sell licenses to its customers for a solar panel farm planned in Clark County, Kentucky. The approved proposal allows EKPC’s customers to purchase a 25-year lease for one or more of the project’s 32,000 panels for a one-time payment of $460 per panel. Among other benefits, customers who decide to invest in this project will receive solar renewable energy credits that can be sold or...
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Great River Energy Announces Joint Solar Project with Dakota Electric Association

Great River Energy recently announced a joint solar project with Dakota Electric Association.  The 1-megawatt project will be constructed on five acres of land along Highway 61 in Marshan Township.  Once completed, it will provide enough electricity to serve approximately 150 residential members.
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South Mississippi Electric Changes Name to Cooperative Energy

South Mississippi Electric announced this week that it has changed its name to Cooperative Energy.  The Company believes that the new name more accurately reflects its mission and business model.  Cooperative Energy operates in 55 of Mississippi’s 82 counties and owns a generation facility in Batesville.  The Company was found in 1941 and has recently focused on increasing the size of its renewable energy portfolio.
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EPA Submits Proposed Model Trading Rules Regarding Clean Power Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) submitted model trading rules that provide an optional path for states implementing the Clean Power Plan (CPP) to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for review.  Although the CPP has been placed on hold by the U.S. Supreme Court, the EPA noted that sending the rules to the office follows a routine rule-development process.  Ultimately, the model trading rules are designed to present options for states to flexibly and affordably implement the...
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Dairyland Announces Three Additional Solar Projects

Dairyland Power Cooperative (Dairyland) announced that it has finalized agreements for two solar projects in Wisconsin and one solar project in Iowa.  The additional projects will increase Dairyland’s total solar generation from 15 megawatts to 20 megawatts.
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Electric Cooperatives Terminate Merger Discussions

Wyoming-based Lower Valley Electric and Idaho-based Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative have ended negotiations regarding a potential merger.  The opportunity to streamline the two organizations could potentially save almost $3 million per year for 10 years, but the cooperatives could not agree on issues such as governance and member representation.
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