Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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Iowa Cooperative Raccoon Valley Becoming Carbon-Free with Purchase of Renewable Credits

Raccoon Valley, an Iowa electric cooperative, plans to purchase renewable credits from three wholesale suppliers to offset its use of carbon-based fuels and become carbon-free.  Purchasing the credits from its suppliers supports the cooperative of which it is a member and puts more renewables back in the generation mix while adding less than half a percent to Raccoon Valley’s total cost of power.
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Great River Energy and NRECA Co-Sponsor Research Regarding Underutilized Energy Storage Resources

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and Great River Energy co-sponsored a research study that showed that residential electric water heaters can serve as energy storage for wind or solar power, increasing efficiency, better integrating renewable energy and saving customers money.  The large capacity water heaters can be enabled to make immediate use of wind or solar power to heat the water and then be shut down when renewables are scarce and wholesale costs are...
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Cooperative Chosen to Build Walkemeyer Project

The Southwest Power Pool Board of Directors has selected Mid-Kansas Cooperative to be the transmission owner responsible for building the new “Walkemeyer” line, a 22.6-mile, 115 kV line from Walkemeyer to North Liberal.
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Tri-State Electric Breaks Ground on Research Center

Tri-State Electric has just broken ground on the Wyoming Integrated Test Center.  The Center is an industrial-scale lab that will research methods that could be used to remove carbon emissions from coal-fired plants and convert them into a revenue-producing resource.  Products made from waste carbon emissions could include chemicals, fuels, building materials and graphene.
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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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