Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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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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Connexus Energy Awards Smart-Grid Contract to Honeywell

Connexus Energy of Minnesota (Connexus) has awarded a smart-grid contract worth $15 million to Honeywell.  The project will provide Connexus members with remote electricity reading.  The project will require replacement of approximately 138,000 electric meters with Honeywell’s new “EnergyAxis” meters equipped with its “SynergyNet” mesh networking software.  The new meters will transmit data to Connexus’s headquarters and give it a better understanding of electrical usage throughout its service...
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Coop Sells Assets to Native American Tribe

Washington’s Benton Rural Electric Association (Benton REA) has announced the sale of $24 million worth of transmission facilities to the Yakama Nation Reservation.  As a result of the sale, the Yakama Reservation electric utility will take over operations of 574 miles of power lines and service to 2,000 accounts located within the reservation.  Benton REA will continue serving approximately 14,000 accounts outside of the...
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USDA Announces $3.6 Billion in Funding for 82 Electric Projects

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that the USDA will provide $3.6 billion in loans to electric utilities in 31 states to fund 82 projects.  The loans, which will be provided through the Electric Program and the Rural Utilities Service, include $216 million for smart grid technologies, $35 million for renewable energy, $26 million for environmental improvements and $1.8 million for energy efficiency.  Many of the funds will be provided to electric cooperatives, including Georgia’s Oglethorpe Power Corporation, which will receive $448 million to fund generation...
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Coop Sues City Alleging Trademark Infringement

Co-Mo Electric Co-Op (Co Mo) has filed a lawsuit against Columbia, Missouri alleging that the name and logo of the city bus system, COMO Connect, infringes on the coop’s trademark for its broadband internet service.  Co-Mo is seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the city from continuing to use the name and logo while the lawsuit is pending.
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NRECA, MISO and SPP File Briefs in FERC Refund Proceedings

NRECA filed its initial briefs in FERC’s Section 206 proceedings involving the refund obligations of nonpublic utilities in MISO and SPP (FERC Dockets EL16-91 and EL16-99).  In its briefs, NRECA recognized FERC’s legitimate concerns but argued, among other things, that a refund requirement has the potential to deter nonpublic utilities from joining RTOs.  MISO and SPP also filed briefs requesting that FERC let them seek a solution through stakeholder proceedings.
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Dairyland Awarded $73.5 Million Settlement from Department of Energy for Storing Uranium

CORRECTION:  Dairyland Power Cooperative (“Dairyland”) will receive $73.5 million for the U.S. government’s failure to take spent fuel from its shuttered Genoa nuclear power plant to the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada.  As part of the settlement, Dairyland was able to negotiate significant savings on future liabilities.  Dairyland’s board will determine how the money will be used but had previously returned half of the last such award to its members through a direct payment and rate relief.
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Georgia Electric Cooperatives Offer Customers Cooperative Solar Program

Green Power EMC and the electric cooperatives have developed a program giving customers the opportunity to purchase solar power from off-site solar facilities and avoid the costs and complications of rooftop solar panels.  Customers can subscribe to blocks of solar energy and receive a credit on their energy bill from such solar facilities.  Jeff Pratt, CEO of Green Power EMC, has stated that the Cooperative Solar program has increased Georgia electric cooperative solar capacity from 7.5 megawatts to 240...
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Dairyland Awarded $73.5 Million Settlement from Department of Energy for Storing Uranium

Dairyland Power Cooperative (“Dairyland”) will receive $73.5 million for the U.S. government’s failure to take spent fuel from its shuttered Genoa nuclear power plant to the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada.  As part of the settlement, Dairyland was able to negotiate more than $13 million savings on future liabilities.  Dairyland’s board will determine how the money will be used but had previously returned half of the last such award to its members through a direct payment and rate...
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