Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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Basin Electric Seeks Site in North Dakota for Potential Gas-Fired Generation Facility

Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin Electric) is looking for land and meeting with representatives in Emmons County, North Dakota, regarding a new gas-fired generation facility.  Basin Electric is in the early stages of considering both whether and where to build such a facility.  Click here for the full story.
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Arizona Congressman Urges EPA to Meet with Coop on Clean Power Plan

U.S. Congressman Ron Barber of Arizona, along with his Arizona colleagues in Congress, has called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to meet with executives from Arizona Electric Power Cooperative to discuss the impact of the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan.  Click here for more.
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Texas Coop Finds Drought Solution on Barge

Brazos Electric Power Cooperative (Brazos Electric) is partnering with Walnut Creek Special Utility District (Walnut Creek) to ensure access to decreasing water levels at Lake Bridgeport, northwest of Fort Worth, Texas.  At the suggestion of an engineering firm, Brazos Electric and Walnut Creek have placed a barge on the lake capable of pulling up to 15 million gallons of water per day, even if lake levels fall below the intake lines that draw water from the lake.  Click here for...
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CFC Joins NRECA’s Solar Initiative

The National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC) has formally joined the Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration (SUNDA) project led by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).  The SUNDA project is supported by a $3.6 million grant to NRECA from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative and will provide a knowledge base for cooperatives considering utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar systems.  CFC’s role in the SUNDA project will be to provide guidance on relevant business plans and financing solutions for PV solar systems.  Read...
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Florida Coop Faces Theft of Power by Marijuana Farms

Florida’s Glades Electric Cooperative may be losing as much as $1 million worth of electricity to marijuana farms whose operators do not pay for the power they use, according to Paul McGehee, director of business development for Glades.  While the theft of power allows marijuana farmers to profit at the coop’s expense, the resulting system overloads and subsequent outages often tip off law enforcement to this type of farming activity.  Click here for...
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Portion of FERC Order 1000 Challenged by NRECA and Others Upheld in Court

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against an industry group, including National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), which was challenging certain provisions of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Order 1000.  Click here for full story and details on the challenge.
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NRECA Argues Cooperatives Should Qualify for FCC Broadband Funds

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has provided comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Phase II of the national competitive bid process for the Connect America Fund.  In those comments, NRECA has argued that electric cooperatives that are already exploring providing broadband service to rural areas should be able to qualify for available funds being administered under the program through a competitive process.  For more on NRECA’s recommendations to the FCC, click...
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Minnesota Cooperative Completes Major Transmission Line

Minnkota Power Cooperative recently completed a 250-mile transmission line from Center, North Dakota to Grand Forks, North Dakota.  The 345-kV line, which has been lauded by U.S. Senator John Hoeven, is the largest transmission project in the state’s history.  For more information, click here.
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Minnesota Utilities Embrace Solar

Minnesota’s electric utilities have significantly increased their investments in solar projects recently.  Investor-owned utilities’ increased interest in solar may be driven by a 2013 state law requiring investor-owned utilities to get 1.5 percent of their electricity from solar power by 2020, while cooperatives’ increased interest seems to be driven in large part by increased demand from members, especially for community solar gardens.  Click here for more.
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Coops Challenge FERC’s New ROE Calculation

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has signaled that it intends to change the methodology with which it calculates utilities’ return on equity (ROE), eliciting concern from the electric cooperative community.  In a June 19 order involving New Hampshire Electric Cooperative, FERC used a new “two-step” method to calculate the ROE for oil and gas pipelines, and the commission has suggested that the same method would be used in cases involving two other electric cooperatives, Tampa, Florida’s Seminole Electric Cooperative and Amarillo, Texas’ Gold Spread Electric Cooperative. ...
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Proposed Regulatory Changes Spark Concerns for New Mexico Coop

Jemez Mountain Electrical Coop is concerned about proposed changes to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) regulations. BIA states that the revised regulations would update and streamline the process of obtaining rights-of-way on Native American land, but Jemez Mountain believes the modified process will result in future utility-related costs. The Rio Grande Sun has the full story.
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Georgia Coop Takes Out Ad Against EPA Rule

Oglethorpe Power was among a group of power companies that took out a full-page advertisement in the Atlanta Journal Constitution in opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule curbing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The ad ran on August 10 and outlines several concerns related to the rule, including its adverse impacts on reliability and rates. Click here for more information.
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Utility Officials Claim New EPA Rule May Cause Shutdown of Arkansas Power Plants

Utility officials from Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC) and Entergy Arkansas told an Arkansas legislative panel that the new EPA carbon emissions rule could cause the shutdown of at least two power plants in the state.  After hearing the testimony of the officials, the House and Senate committees on insurance and commerce adopted a resolution expressing opposition to the proposed rule.  To read more about this story, please click here.
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BNSF Railway to Increase Coal Shipments to Dairyland Facility

BNSF Railway has pledged to increase shipments of coal to the Genoa facility of Dairyland Power Cooperative.  Dairyland is confident that the increased shipments will allow its Genoa facility to continue operating through the winter.  The increase is due to pressure from the federal Surface Transportation Board.  To read more, please click here.
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