Eversheds Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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CEO of Minnkota Power Cooperative Urges Congress to Boost Carbon Capture Technologies

Mac McLennan, President and CEO of Minnkota Power Cooperative, recently urged members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy to prioritize reliability and resiliency in the wake of power stability issues across the country. Specifically, Mr. McLennan asked Congress to support carbon capture technologies through passage of the Carbon Capture Modernization Act. This bill would make it easier for electric cooperatives to access incentives to retrofit coal plants with technologies that capture carbon dioxide emissions.
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Electric Cooperative in Florida Donates $2 Million

Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative (WREC) donated more than half a million dollars to two high schools in Hernando and Pasco counties and awarded $1.3 million in post-secondary scholarships to children of members in its five-county service area. Funding came from WREC’s educational foundation.
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Broadband Access Expanding in Virginia

The Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, recently signed HB2304 and SB1413 in Franklin, Virginia. The law will expand broadband access in Virginia by allowing investor-owned electric utilities to recover costs of, and revenue from, expanding broadband to unserved areas. This paves the way for Virginia’s electric cooperatives to create partnerships with other investor-owned electric utilities to establish broadband in their service areas.
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NRECA Concerned Over Increasing Postal Rates

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is concerned about postal rate increases well above inflation that will go into effect in August. Rural communities that rely on the postal service are particularly hurt by these rate increases.
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Arizona Cooperative Saves Bear Caught on Power Pole

A bear was found tangled in power pole wires of Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative. Company linemen immediately disabled the power so the bear would not be electrocuted and freed the animal.
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Kentucky Coop Eyes More Sustainable Future

In November, East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) laid out a sustainability plan for its 16 owner-member cooperatives, aiming to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 35% by 2035 and increase energy from renewable sources by 15% by 2035. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, EKPC has kept work and projects on track to meet this goal.
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Coop to Use Helicopter to Trim Trees

EnerstarElectric Cooperative is teaming up with Aerial Solutions to use a helicopter with a suspended saw to chop down trees to prevent interference with power lines in its service area this month. The trimming process is expected to last two weeks, and the amount of time in each specific area will vary from a few hours to a full day.
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Indiana Coop Developing Solar Installations at Retiring Coal Plant

Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative Hallador Energy Company are teaming up to develop approximately 200 megawatts of energy from solar and battery storage near the Merom Coal Generation Station, which is expected to retire in May 2023.
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Kentucky Coop Solar Project to Power Corvette Factory

Western Rural Electric Cooperative is developing a nearly 145 megawatt solar and storage project that will power a GM Chevy Corvette assembly plant. The project is a part of TVA’s Green Invest Initiative and will assist GM in achieving its goal of going carbon-neutral by 2040.
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Missouri Coop Expanding Fiber to Rural Areas

Osage Valley Electric Coop is teaming up with Conexon Connect to bring fiber access to rural areas. The program is a 5-year, $75 million dollar project that is expected to bring fiber internet to 16,300 homes and businesses.
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Colorado Coop Uses Electricity from Methane

Methane from the Elk Creek Mine Plant is being converted to electricity and moved to the regional power grid, where it is used by Holy Cross Electric Cooperative. The electricity comes at a premium, but the coop is willing to pay the higher price to fulfill its clean energy goals.
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NRECA Urges Congress to Give Coops Direct-Pay Incentives for Clean Energy

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is urging congressional leaders to provide electric cooperatives with direct payments to develop clean energy projects, which would give coops incentives comparable to the tax breaks granted to investor-owned utilities. For-profit utilities have long received federal tax breaks for providing power from solar, wind and other renewable energy sources, but not-for-profit coops and public power utilities have not been able to tap into those programs because they are exempt from federal income taxes.
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Cooperative Turns on Battery Storage Facility

The first large standalone battery storage facility in New Hampshire has been turned on by the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative alongside its solar farm. The 2.45-megawatt battery project, the largest in New Hampshire, was developed in partnership with Engie, the North American arm of a French energy firm.
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SMECO Begins Extensive Electric Vehicle Charging Network

Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) is creating an electric vehicle charging network that will grow to 60 stations over the next four years as the coop works to help Maryland achieve its ambitious goal of having 300,000 electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2025. The coop’s stations are at public locations that include regional parks, senior centers and libraries.
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