Eversheds Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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Mississippi Law Allows Coops to Pursue Broadband

A new Mississippi law expands a coop’s authority to pursue broadband through an affiliate that is separate from its electric service. The law will allow a coop to hang broadband fiber on its existing power poles and lease it to the affiliate. Alternatively, the affiliate can partner with an internet provider to pursue the service.
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Tri-State and EDP Renewables Announce Wind PPA

Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association (Tri-State) and EDP Renewables (EDP) have announced a 104 MW, 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) that will enable the development and construction of the Crossing Trails Wind Farm. The wind farm, which is expected to be operational in 2020, will produce enough electricity annually to power more than 47,000 average rural Colorado...
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NRECA Welcomes New Year with Fresh Advocacy Priorities

Last week, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO, Jim Matheson, outlined the organization’s new advocacy goals for 2019. Matheson set rural broadband, flexible energy and infrastructure policy, grid resilience, and beneficial regulations as areas of emphasis.
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Mississippi Allows Electric Cooperatives to Offer Internet Service

This week Mississippi passed a bill allowing electrical cooperatives in the state to offer customers high-speed internet service. The measure, seeking to better Mississippians’ access to internet service, will allow cooperatives to seek U.S. Department of Agriculture grants for extending internet service.
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S&P Releases 2019 Outlook for Power Utilities and Electric Cooperatives

An S&P Global Ratings report forecasts that, despite significant technological, regulatory and economic uncertainties in 2019, power utilities and electric cooperatives are likely to maintain their financial strength, on the whole.
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Colorado Cooperative Strikes Deal Spurring 100 MW Wind Farm Development

Holy Cross Energy, a Colorado-based nonprofit rural electrical cooperative, recently entered a two-way power purchase agreement with Guzman Energy allowing for the development of a 100 MW wind farm. The agreement will allow Holy Cross Energy to reach almost 70% renewable energy consumption in 2021 once the wind farm comes online.
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Dairyland Power Cooperative Seeks Approval for Natural Gas Plant

Dairyland Power Cooperative is seeking approval from Wisconsin Public Service Commission to build a jointly owned natural gas power plant in Superior, Wisconsin. If approved, the 625 MW plant would go online in late 2024.
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Electric Cooperative Policy Priorities in 2019

As the new Congress gets under way, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) will be advocating on many public policy issues on behalf of electric cooperatives. Specifically, NRECA plans to (1) work to ensure that any infrastructure package will include opportunities to modernize the electric grid and expand rural broadband access, (2) encourage bipartisan support for energy research and development programs, (3) work to protect electric cooperative employee retirement benefits, and (4) advocate for resources and technologies that meet the unique cybersecurity and recovery...
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United Power Cooperative Storage System Comes Online

United Power Cooperative has unveiled the largest battery storage system in Colorado. The battery stores 4 megawatts, and United Power anticipates it will save customers $1 million per year.
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Walton EMC Contracts with New Solar Projects for Facebook Data Center

Walton Electric Membership Corporation (Walton EMC) has entered into contracts with two solar developers for three new solar projects as part of its agreement to supply 100 percent renewable energy for Facebook’s data center in Newton County, Georgia. Facebook chose Walton EMC as the power supplier for the data center when it announced the facility in...
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Brazos Electric to Purchase More Power from Texas Solar Project

7X Energy, Inc. announced additional procurement of solar energy by Brazos Electric Power Cooperative, Inc. (Brazos Electric) from the Lapetus Energy Project, taking the project from 25 MW to 67.5 MW. The Brazos purchase agreement represents the largest solar energy contract to date with an electric cooperative in Texas.
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FEMA Awards $1.28 Million for Hurricane Harvey Repairs

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), through its Public Assistance Program, granted $1.28 million to Texas coop Jackson Electric Cooperative to repair damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.
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Inadvertent Tax Bill Language Could Jeopardize Exempt Status for Coops

Coops that accept any government grants may find their tax-exempt status at risk. To be considered tax exempt, electric coops are limited to a 15 percent threshold of non-member income. As written, the 2017 tax law counts money received from any government grant as non-member income, where previously, most such grants were considered contributions to capital.
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NRECA Seeks Reduction in Insurance Premiums on Coop Retirement Plans

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is pushing hard in the remaining weeks of Congress this year to bring down pension insurance costs for electric coops. “Because of the strength of our network, electric coop retirement plans pose little risk of default. Yet we are required to pay insurance premiums as if we are a high-risk venture,” said NRECA CEO Jim Matheson. “When we overpay these premium costs, we take money away from our core mission as coops—member benefits and...
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