Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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Texas Coop to Host Distributed Community Solar

Renewable Energy Systems Distributed has entered into an agreement with Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) to construct the Pedernales Electric Community Solar Project.  This solar project will be comprised of PV projects at 15 sites owned by coop members, and each site will host up to 998 kw of solar PV.  PEC will purchase the output from each project under long-term contracts, and this electricity will then be sold to PEC’s members through PEC’s community solar program. Construction on these projects is expected to be completed by the end of...
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AEPCO CEO Testifies in Support of Great Rate-Setting Transparency

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) CEO Patrick Ledger testified in support of a bill that would require federal power administrations to detail costs on wholesale electric bills.  Ledger said after his testimony that AEPCO is fine with justified cost increases but does not have enough information to see what’s included in the bill and how costs are distributed between conservation costs and transmission and administration...
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Minnkota Enters Into 35-Year Wind Power Purchase Agreement

In an effort toward compliance with anticipated federal regulations, Minnkota Power Cooperative (Minnkota) will purchase wind energy from NextEra Energy Resources 100 megawatt wind farm addition when the project begins operation in early 2017, at which point nearly 35 percent of Minnkota’s electric generation capacity will come from wind.
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Drone Amendment to Senate FAA Bill Helpful to Coops

Under a bill that passed the Senate by a vote of 95-3, drones may become a more useful tool for electric coops.  The drone provisions, which were added as an amendment to a larger bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), would ease current restrictions on drones and call for the FAA to set up a process enabling companies with critical infrastructure to use drones for activities currently carried out by manned aircraft.  The bill now heads to the House for a...
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Kansas Electric Cooperatives to Merge

Leavenworth-Jefferson Electric Cooperative and Kaw Valley Electric Cooperative have approved a formal plan to merge and become FreeState Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FreeState), effective January 1, 2017.  With 14,691 member-owners, FreeState will be the largest rural electric cooperative in eastern Kansas.
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New Hampshire Coop Launches Peak Demand Management Programs

New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) has rolled out three voluntary demand management programs designed to incentivize reduced peak time usage and therefore ultimately reduce NHEC’s cost of providing power to its members.
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NRECA Asking Regulators to Exempt Coop Truck Drivers

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has asked regulators to exempt drivers of coop utility trucks from new standards that could subject them to the same entry-level training rules as drivers of 18-wheelers and other trucks.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed the new regulations on March 4.
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GridLiance Holdco Acquires Transmission Assets of Tri-County

Tri-County Electric Cooperative (Tri-County) sold its transmission substations in Oklahoma’s panhandle and turned over the operation and maintenance of 410 miles of power lines to GridLiance Holdco (GridLiance) on April 1.  The acquisition fits into GridLiance’s partnership model with respect to assisting electric cooperatives solve transmission issues and paves the way for future joint investments in transmission projects in an effort to reduce network congestion, lower costs and increase...
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CIPCO Launches State’s Largest Solar Project

Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO), a G&T based in Des Moines, just launched a new solar project.  The first phase of the new utility-scale project will produce up to 5.5 MWs of power by late 2016.  CIPCO will be adding to its portfolio of emissions-free sources of energy, which currently make up 54 percent of its energy mix.  The decision to build a utility scale solar plant was influenced by CIPCO’s commitment to providing environmentally friendly sources of energy, as well as falling prices and federal tax incentives for photovoltaic...
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Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit against Alabama Cooperative

A federal judge dismissed a class action suit against Arab Electric Cooperative brought by its members for failing to refund profits back to members, as required by state law.  The judge ruled that, because the cooperatives have contracts with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) that restrict the cooperatives in terms of changing rates, the cooperatives cannot independently reduce rates without TVA consent or issue refunds under Alabama law and still comply with the TVA contract.
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Cooperatives Co-Commission New Solar Field in Arkansas

Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corporation (OECC), Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) and Aerojet Rocketdyne (Aerojet) formally commissioned a 12-megawatt (AC) array in the Highland Industrial Park in Arkansas.  OECC assisted in the project by providing technical support, guidance and expertise, while Aerojet will purchase the solar power and AECC will receive any excess solar energy.
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TVA Awards Solar Capacity to Three Coops

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association, awarded 16.7 MWs of solar capacity to four power companies, three of which are coops.  Chickasaw Electric Cooperative, East Mississippi Electric Power Association and Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Corporation applied for and were awarded this capacity through the Distributed Solar Solutions pilot, which was launched in January 2016.
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Wind Energy Strong in 2015

Data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that wind energy accounted for over 41 percent of generating capacity additions in 2015.  Wind energy’s growth was strongest in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and North Dakota.  But resource availability in windy states was not the only driving factor in the growth that 2015 saw, as the federal production tax credit continued to provide additional economic incentive for developers to build wind...
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Coop Adds Solar Power in the Sunshine State

Seminole Electric Cooperative (Seminole), based in Tampa, Florida, will soon add 2 MWs of solar power to its generation mix.  Seminole is in the process of erecting 8,400 photovoltaic panels near a combined-cycle gas plant that it owns.  By early 2017 all nine of Seminole’s distribution cooperative members will be taking output from the solar facility.
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