Sutherland Coop Law Blog
content top

Great River Energy Announces 2.25-MW Minnesota Solar Project

Great River Energy announced its largest solar project yet with the Dickinson Solar Project (“Project”), a 2.25-MW solar array six miles east of Buffalo, Minnesota.  The Project will serve customers of Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association and responds to members’ interests in more renewable energy as it will replace electricity now generate by fossil fuels.
Continue Reading

Merger in Yellowstone

Two Yellowstone area cooperatives are discussing a merger designed to save $4 million per year. The cooperatives—Lower Valley Energy and Fall River Rural Electric—serve a combined 43,000 meters located in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.  If projections are correct, the merger will save members an estimated $38 million over 10 years.
Continue Reading

Electric Coops Ask Supreme Court to Block Clean Power Plan

Electric cooperatives are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to put the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan on hold until all legal challenges are resolved.  The petition comes after a federal appeals court rejected a similar request less than a week earlier.
Continue Reading

Mississippi PSC Rejects Coop Associations’ Request to Reconsider Net-Metering Rule

The Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) put in place a net-metering rule, which allows customers to use rooftop solar panels to produce power and sell this power to utilities. The Electric Power Associations of Mississippi, Inc. asked the PSC to reconsider the rule, asserting that the PSC does not have the authority to impose this rule. The Commission rejected the Electric Power Associations’ request along with three others, leaving those who challenged the rule to decide whether to take their challenge to...
Continue Reading

SCOTUS Gives FERC Approval to Reshape Power Markets

In a 6-2 vote, the justices held that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had authority under the Federal Power Act to issue the so-called demand-response rule, reversing the D.C. Circuit’s decision that the rule usurped state authority over retail electricity markets.  Writing for the majority, Justice Elena Kagan said that demand response directly affects wholesale electricity rates, which are squarely in FERC territory, and that the FERC is not directly regulating retail electricity sales with the...
Continue Reading

NRECA to Help Design Software to Cost-Effectively Improve Grid Resiliency

With a $1.8 million grant from the Department of Energy, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) will help develop software designed to identify the most cost-effective upgrades that utilities can make to improve grid resiliency in order to reduce economic losses caused by weather-related power outages.
Continue Reading

Great River Energy and Other Cooperatives Join Grid Stability Research Project

Great River Energy and other cooperatives in the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) are researching ways to increase grid flexibility in order to integrate more intermittent distributed renewable energy resources. NRECA plans to create a water heater controller and a smart circuit breaker capable of controlling plug-in appliances with the hope of making load management an inherent part of grid operations and learning how autonomous intelligent technologies can be deployed to respond quickly and maintain power quality and...
Continue Reading

DC Circuit Refuses to Delay Implementation of Clean Power Plan

In a setback to dozens of states and industry groups, the D.C. Circuit Court refused to delay the Clean Power Plan (CPP) while legal challenges are ongoing. The petitioners argued that they will be irreparably harmed by starting the compliance process. Basin Electric Power Cooperative has argued that it will lose a lot of money if they comply with the CPP and it is later scrapped by the court. Under the CPP, states must start submitting implementation plans by 2018 and have evidence of reduced emissions by...
Continue Reading

An End to Geothermal Incentives in Illinois

Incentives for geothermal energy systems in Illinois have ended. Geothermal systems are more expensive than traditional fossil fuel based HVAC systems, but result in savings down the road. While in place, the incentives—in the form of grants—helped cooperative members install 51 geothermal projects resulting in an aggregate annual savings of $681,000. The last of the incentive grants was awarded to Southern Illinois University in Marion to help it install a geothermal system in its new automotive and aviation technology...
Continue Reading

Colorado Coop Begins Supplying Additional Solar Power

Poudre Valley Rural Electric Cooperative (Poudre) recently began supplying members with additional solar energy from two large solar plants. The plants, owned by Silicon Ranch Corporation, will supply power to Poudre’s members pursuant to an outputs contract. The two plants produce a combined 8 megawatts of power from 100,000 panels and will supply enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 1,300 homes each year.
Continue Reading

Coops Urged to Consider Officer Succession Planning

Leadership consultant Kevin Eikenberry highlights aging coop leadership and is encouraging electric coops to take a long-term view of workforce planning, including talent transition teams.
Continue Reading

EIA Forecasts Electricity Prices to Rise in 2017

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has reported it expects residential electricity prices to increase by about 3 percent in 2017 after holding steady in 2015 and 2016.  The projected residential electricity price increases vary widely from region to region.
Continue Reading

Enel Starts Construction of Oklahoma Wind Farm

Enel Green Power North America Inc. has started construction of the $180 million Drift Sand project in Grady County, Oklahoma.  The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year and electricity from the project will go to Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. under a long-term power-purchase agreement.
Continue Reading

Construction to Begin at Silicon Ranch Solar Energy Plant in Georgia

Construction on Silicon Ranch’s new 52 MWac solar energy plant is set to begin on February 1. Once completed, the plant will occupy approximately 450 acres, employ more than 200 workers and will harness enough solar energy to power the homes of approximately 8,500 of Green Power EMC’s members.
Continue Reading