Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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Kentucky Public Service Commission Approves Methane Project

The Kentucky Public Service Commission has recently approved a new methane project at the Glasgow Regional Landfill (Landfill). The project, owned by the East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC), will generate electricity by capturing methane gas escaping from the Landfill.  EKPC hopes that the project will be operational by late September or early October.  Click here to read more.
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Congressional Legislation Preserves Large Water Heater Use

As we have previously noted, the Department of Energy implemented regulations on April 16 to ban the manufacture of large water heaters that can be controlled by smart meter technology.  To prevent adverse effects of these regulations on electric cooperatives, Congress passed legislation on April 21 enabling cooperatives to continue to use large capacity grid-enabled water heaters for energy and money-saving programs.  To read more please click here.
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USDA Announces Funding for Infrastructure Projects

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced $72 million in funding for six electric infrastructure projects, including several projects being developed by rural electric cooperatives.  The projects include a transmission project in Kansas being developed by Rolling Hills Electric Cooperative, transmission and other system improvements by Broad River Electric Cooperative in North Carolina and South Carolina, and transmission improvements by Washington Electric Cooperative in Vermont.  To read more about the USDA’s announcement, please click...
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USDA Extends Another $31 Million in Federal Loans and Grants to Electric Cooperatives

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the extension of $31 million more in loans and grants to electric cooperatives in 12 states under the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant (REDLG) Program. The USDA’s REDLG program extends zero-interest loans and grants to utilities, which then lend the funds to local businesses for job-creating projects in rural areas. The REDLG program has helped create or save approximately 32,000 jobs under the Obama Administration by providing nearly $338 million in economic development assistance. Read...
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Ban on Large Capacity Grid-Enabled Water Heaters Takes Effect April 16 Unless Congress Acts

A federal ban on large capacity, grid-enabled water heaters will take effect April 16 unless the U.S. House pushes forward with legislation that would allow for continued manufacture of water heaters above 75 gallons.  The bill was approved in the Senate on March 27.  For more information, please click here.
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D.C. Cir. Approves EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulation at Some Power Plants

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) won a case before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Cir.) that will allow it to continue to regulate existing power plants for greenhouse gases if they are being regulated for other pollutants as well.  The Court also vacated portions of the EPA’s Tailoring Rule which attempted to address emissions of carbon dioxide through permitting programs.  Please click here (subscription required) for more information on the...
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Mohave Electric Cooperative Serves Members with New Solar Facility

Arizona’s Mohave Electric Cooperative (MEC) is now purchasing power from a new utility-grade solar facility to supply its members with renewable power.  The facility is currently owned by a private developer, whose appetite for the associated tax credits improved the economics of the deal for MEC and its members, and will be owned by MEC when the tax credits have been exhausted.  Click here for more information from MEC and here for a picture of MEC directors and executives visiting the...
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Washington Electric Cooperatives Consider a Merger

Last week, Ralph Rise, the President of the Nespelem Valley Electric (NVE) board of trustees, announced that NVE is in discussions with the Inland Power & Light Company regarding a possible merger. The merger would have to be approved by a member vote.  If approved it would join NVE, which serves about 1,500 accounts, with Inland Power & Light, which serves about 39,000 accounts.  Click here to read more.
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Appalachian Regional Commission Awards $500,000 Grant to Rural Electric Cooperative for Solar Project

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced the grant of $500,000 from the Appalachian Regional Commission ARC) to the BARC Electric Cooperative (BARCEC). The grant will help fund a new solar facility and learning center in rural Appalachia.  The facility will produce between 250 and 350 kilowatts of electricity—enough to provide power to approximately 60 residential purchasers.  Members of the BARCEC will be able to obtain a portion of their power from the solar facility.  Click here to read...
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Texas Co-op Approves Distributed Generation Initiative

The board of directors of Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) has approved a resolution to include initiatives for more distributed generation as part of PEC’s overall business plan.  PEC officials have indicated these measures are a response to PEC’s members’ desire for reliable and renewable energy solutions.  To read more please click here.
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Capacity for Distributed Energy Storage Expected to Increase Dramatically by 2018

A recent report by Navigant Research suggests that the capacity distributed energy storage systems (DESS) will grow 10-fold by 2018.  Worldwide DESS capacity is expected to grow to 2.4 GW from the current level of 276 MW, and revenues from DESS are expected to be greater than $16.5 billion by 2024.  Research indicates the boom is being generated by improved technologies, including lithium ion batteries.  To read more please click here.
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NRECA Pleased with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Designation of Northern Long-Eared Bat as “Threatened”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service classified the long-eared bat as “threatened” rather than “endangered” allowing electric co-ops to maintain power lines and rights-of-way in the species’ habitat. Had the FWS designated the bat as “endangered” co-ops would have been forced to choose between complying with reliability standards or complying with habitat protection rules. Read more about the NRECA reaction here.
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South Dakota Legislature Overrides Governor Veto Regarding Coop Taxes

South Dakota state lawmakers voted to override Governor Dennis Daugaard’s decision to veto a measure that will slightly reduce taxes for electric cooperatives.  The tax plan in question will roll back a recent administrative decision on how state tax for electric cooperatives is determined.  The bill will exclude municipal taxes from the calculation of state tax liability.  To read more please click here.
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USDA Awards $31 MM in Loans and Grants to Support Rural Economic Development

The Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the award of $31 million in loans and grants for 38 projects in 12 states to promote rural economic development.  These revolving zero-interest loans provide funds to local businesses to help create jobs and expand rural manufacturing.  See the full list of awards here.
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