Eversheds Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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Vermont Electric Cooperative Pledges To Be Carbon-free by 2023

Vermont Electric Cooperative, Vermont’s largest member-owned electric utility, has pledged to move to a 100% carbon-free power supply by 2023. The electric cooperative said the carbon-free decision was made by the board of directors to reflect customer demand for clean energy and to meet state goals to fight climate change. The coop serves about 32,000 members in 75 communities in northern Vermont.
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NRECA Expresses Concerns Regarding Expected Timing for Notices of Defaults in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) made a request on April 1 to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging the FCC to publicly announce defaults by winning bidders in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction (RDOF), so that unserved rural communities can pursue other public broadband resources. Without timely public notices of such defaults, rural areas no longer covered by the RDOF may be ineligible for other existing and forthcoming federal, state and local rural broadband programs.
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Colorado Coop’s Empower Program Helps Make Energy Efficiency Affordable

An electric cooperative in Colorado is bundling its energy-efficiency programs and many of its consumer services under a single brand and making them available to those working or living near its service territory. Specifically, San Isabel Electric Association’s Empower Program aims to identify qualified contractors and suppliers of proven products and helps find ways to finance improvements and upgrades for its members and others who live and work in southern Colorado.
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New York Cooperative Enters into Purchase Agreement

Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative (Tri-County) entered into an asset purchase agreement to acquire the Waverly, NY electric distribution assets of Pennsylvania Electric Co. (Penelec). Tri-County intends to add Penelec’s customers in Waverly to its cooperative membership upon completion of the acquisition.
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NRECA Reacts to Biden Infrastructure Plan

In a statement released Wednesday, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) announced it was encouraged to see electric coop priorities reflected in President Biden’s infrastructure proposal. Select provisions that will benefit coops and their customer-members are $100 billion to update the nation’s energy grid and expand existing transmission infrastructure, and $15 billion for energy demonstration projects, including utility-scale battery storage, carbon capture and storage, and advanced nuclear energy.
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Cobb EMC Announces 2030 Clean Energy Goals

Over the last decade, Cobb EMC has been investing in smart, renewable energy technology for its members and is on schedule to attain its clean energy goals by 2030. The installation of rooftop solar panels on campus, the completion of a Solar Flower Garden, the activation of battery storage, and additional utility-scale solar later this year are all keeping Cobb EMC’s sustainability goals on track.
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Electric Coop Ranks With Top Innovative Businesses

BARC Electric Cooperative was named the seventh most innovative company in North America in 2021 by Fast Company, the media firm that ranks advancements across all sectors worldwide. Serving nearly 13,000 members in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley region, Millboro-based BARC is the first electric coop bestowed the honor.
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Tennessee Valley Authority to Build Kentucky’s Largest Solar Site

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) announced plans last Thursday to build the largest solar-plus-storage project in its Kentucky service area. The new Logan County solar farm, part of the TVA’s Green Invest program, will provide Facebook’s regional data center operations with 145 megawatts of solar power and General Motors’ Corvette Plant in Bowling Green with 28 megawatts of solar power. Facebook’s investment helped enable the addition of 120 megawatt-hours of new battery storage technology which will increase the resilience of the power grid. TVA and Warren Rural...
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RUS Loan Repricing Bill Reintroduced

A bipartisan group of legislators reintroduced the Flexible Financing for Rural America Act this week. The law would permit electric coops to reprice loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) at current rates without prepayment penalties, potentially resulting in savings of $10 billion for about 500 coops.
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Texas Coop to Strengthen Infrastructure

Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative is currently replacing and increasing the number of poles and lines in anticipation of “storm season” in East Texas. The coop believes the investment will save money down the road by avoiding repeated repairs.
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New Cyber Technology Provides Real-Time Defense

New technology developed to rapidly identify and defend against emerging cybersecurity threats is being demonstrated at a growing number of electric cooperatives nationwide. The technology is being developed by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and its partners BlackByte Cyber Security LLC and Referentia Systems Inc. through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy.
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USDA Invests $598 Million in Rural Electric Infrastructure After Severe Weather

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today a $598 million rural electric loan package to build or improve electric infrastructure in 11 states through the Electric Loan Program. This funding will benefit 460,000 rural residents and businesses in Arizona, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia. Several of the loans will help expand smart grid technologies.
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VEC and GMP Announce Broadband Deployment Program

Vermont Electric Co-op (VEC) and Green Mountain Power (GMP) each launched a Broadband Deployment Program to help rural Vermonters get connected to broadband quickly and cost-effectively. The plans approved Friday by the Vermont Public Utility Commission lower the cost for broadband providers to connect the hardest-to-serve customers by offering up to $2,000 per unserved location for infrastructure connection costs. The program aims to create greater equity for customers to access the economic, educational and social benefits that come with connectivity, including the ability to choose...
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NRECA Urges NTIA to Award Grants for Tribal Land Broadband Expansion

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) is currently formulating its Tribal Broadband Connectivity Grants Program, which was created by the pandemic relief passed by Congress in December 2020. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is recommending that NTIA implement the Program with flexibility and efficiency, offering grants to tribal communities even If they were covered by previous broadband auctions.
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