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USDA Unveils Energy Efficiency Program for Rural Coops

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide funding to rural coops and utilities to help boost energy efficiency improvements by commercial and residential customers.  The Energy Efficiency and Loan Conservation Program plans to provide up to $250 million to rural coops which will, in turn, lend the money to customers to fund energy efficiency projects. To learn more, click...

FERC Expands SGIA and SGIP to Cover Energy Storage

On Friday, November 22, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) revised its standardized Small Generator Interconnection Agreements (SGIA) and Procedures (SGIP).  The changes are intended to make the interconnection of small generators (20 MW or smaller) greener and more efficient.  Read the full Sutherland Legal...

Water Heater Efficiency Act to Help Coops?

Republican Senator John Hoeven and a bipartisan group of senators today introduced the Water Heater Efficiency Act, a bill that would enable rural electric power coops and their members to continue using large, energy-efficient water heaters in “demand response” conservation programs.  New Department of Energy rules threaten to phase out such water heaters by 2015.  The bill is...

Iowa Coop Closes 1960s Coal-Fueled Plant

In early November, Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO) closed CIPCO Fair Station, a 66-MW coal-fueled power plant located in eastern Iowa.  CIPCO’s decision to close the plant stemmed from new federal environmental regulations, current energy prices and the overall efficiency concerns in running a plant built in the 1960s.  Read more...

Coop Reporting Rules Modified by RUS

The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) reportedly plans to remove disincentives to electric coop participation in relending activities that involve rural development loan programs and energy efficiency.  This move is in response to a request by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association that coop participation in certain loan and relending programs not lead to procedures that would...

Changes to Hydro Power Marketing Administrations Blocked by House of Representatives

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment on July 10 to the energy and water appropriations bill that prohibits spending to expand the role of four power marketing administrations.  These administrations have historically provided low-cost hydro power to coops and others, but the Department of Energy has been considering expanding their role to include energy efficiency and...

NRECA Backs Potential Senate Deal on Federal Building Efficiency

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is supporting bipartisan legislation to repeal a law ending fossil energy use in new and renovated federal buildings by 2030 and replace it with legislation to expand existing efficiency goals.  A June 3 letter sent by NRECA and eight trade organizations to members of the U.S. Senate stated: “These provisions would give...

Coops Advocate Water Heater Rule Change

Electric cooperatives are advocating that the Department of Energy (DOE) make changes to a new rule that would phase out large-capacity electric storage water heaters from demand management programs.  These water heaters save time and energy for cooperatives and provide significant reductions in wholesale power costs.  Currently, the DOE has offered one-year waivers for the water...

Coops Rise to Meet New Data Center Load Challenges

The deserts of the Pacific Northwest have become popular locations for data centers, and this trend is changing the way some electric coops do business.  Companies including Google, Amazon, and Facebook have chosen locations in or around Oregon because of the state’s tax breaks, cheap abundant power, and cool, dry weather that can accommodate large-scale data centers.  To maintain...

Customer Satisfaction Index Finds High Levels of Satisfaction with Coops

For the second year in a row, electric cooperatives scored an average of 83 points out of 100 possible points for customer satisfaction as measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).  Coops maintained higher scores than energy utilities, which increased for the seventh straight year—to 77.4 out of 100 possible points.  The ACSI found that increased energy efficiency...

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