Tag Archives: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)

A utility in coal country doubles down on renewables

By Jessica Kutz, High Country News

‘You can politicize it all you want, but in the end economics is really what drives it.’

Bill Patterson, the board president for the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA), a rural utility in a conservative pocket of Western Colorado, thinks the shift to renewable energy just makes plain economic sense. And DMEA members agree. Last week they voted in favor of giving the electric co-op the option to sell stocks in order to raise enough money to buy itself out of its contract with the wholesale provider Tri-State Generation & Transmission due to a desire to produce more renewable energy, locally. Continue reading here.

Tri-State Members’ Service Territories Include Nebraska

This story is a part of the ongoing Back 40 series, where HCN reporters look at national trends and their impacts close to home.

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NRECA’S SOLAR DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES FOR COOPERATIVES & OTHER COMMUNITIES 

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s innovative SUNDA Project helps rural electric cooperatives and others to develop a utility-scale solar project. SUNDA stands for “Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration.”

The SUNDA team, with the help of the pilot project’s participating 17 rural electric cooperatives, utilized lessons learned from their deployment of 30 megawatts of photovoltaic (PV) solar to develop tools and resources that help other cooperatives to deploy solar in their own communities.

The tools are organized based on the solar project phase, from initial conceptualization to design and implementation. They are available online, providing valuable resources for cooperatives and other communities and organizations interested in developing a utility-scale solar project. Click the links, below, to learn more:

All the resources are available here: SUNDA Project

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
NRECA and Industry Groups: EVs Are Viable Tool to Meet Fuel Standards, by Cathy Cash
At least 150 NRECA member co-ops provide off-peak charging rates for EV users. Dozens of electric co-ops across the country have programs that implement charging infrastructure in their service territory.

UPCOMING WEBINAR
Cooperative Leadership Network Webinar:
What Co-op Leaders Need To Know About Community Solar, October 30, 2018, 2 to 3 pm

New Research Shows a Solar Revolution in Rural America

News Release, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

ARLINGTON, Va. –The rapid acceleration of solar development by America’s electric cooperatives is transforming the energy landscape in rural America. According to a new report, electric co-ops today own or purchase more than nine times as much solar energy as they did in 2013.

In 2013, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) received a grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) to help electric cooperatives remove barriers to solar development. Through the ensuing Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration (SUNDA) project, NRECA worked with 17 electric cooperatives to develop models and resources for co-ops interested in developing solar energy. Continue here.

Download Report: A Solar Revolution in Rural America
SUNDA Project

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

  • NRECA’s Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) Award
    In May, SEPA announced their 2018 Power Players Awards. The awards “honor utilities, their partners, and individual thought leaders providing the vision, models and momentum for the electric power industry’s smart transition to a clean, modern energy future.” The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) was one of three recipients of the Innovative Partner of the Year Award in recognition of the SUNDA Project. 
  • NRECA and Industry Groups: EVs Are Viable Tool to Meet Fuel Standards, by Cathy Cash
    At least 150 NRECA member co-ops provide off-peak charging rates for EV users. Dozens of electric co-ops across the country have programs that implement charging infrastructure in their service territory.

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National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Award-Winning SUNDA Project

NRECA’s innovative SUNDA Project helps rural electric cooperatives nationwide to accelerate utility solar. SUNDA stands for “Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration.”

The SUNDA team, with the help of the pilot project’s participating 17 rural electric cooperatives, utilized lessons learned from their deployment of 30 megawatts of photovoltaic (PV) solar to develop tools and resources that help other cooperatives to deploy solar in their own communities.

The tools are organized based on the solar project phase, from initial conceptualization to design, implementation, service offering and member engagement:

  1. Just Beginning
  2. Project Scoping
  3. Learning More
  4. Detailed Planning
  5. Building Consensus

SUNDA Project

NRECA Receives Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) Award
SEPA recently announced their 2018 Power Players Awards. The awards “honor utilities, their partners, and individual thought leaders providing the vision, models and momentum for the electric power industry’s smart transition to a clean, modern energy future.”

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) was one of three recipients of the Innovative Partner of the Year Award in recognition of the SUNDA Project.

This category recognizes a non-utility partner for a unique method, project, leadership, or innovation that has aided in the expansion of or access to distributed energy resources while working with one or more utilities.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
NRECA and Industry Groups: EVs Are Viable Tool to Meet Fuel Standards, by Cathy Cash
At least 150 NRECA member co-ops provide off-peak charging rates for EV users. Dozens of electric co-ops across the country have programs that implement charging infrastructure in their service territory.

Thinkstock Photo

“Cooperatives and Renewables” – National Rural Electric Cooperative Association


The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) represents over 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives, public power districts, and public utility districts in the United States. NRECA’s numerous resources include national and state-level information and statistics on cooperatives and renewables, including these:

  • Currently, 95 percent of NRECA’s distribution members offer renewable options to 40 million Americans.
  • Including federal hydropower, co-ops own or purchase roughly 10 percent of U.S. renewable capacity.
  • Co-ops own more than 1.3 GW of renewable capacity and have long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for nearly 7.4 GW — in addition to roughly 10 GW of preference power contracts with federal hydroelectric facilities.
  • Co-ops plan to add more than 1 GW of additional renewable capacity over the next few years, with more announced every day.

Nebraska Cooperatives Using Solar & Wind

  • NRECA’s Interactive Map: Cooperative Solar Across the Country, shows that 443 cooperatives in 43 states utilize solar as a source of power. Nebraska ranks 20th among those states, with 8 co-ops using solar, following: Georgia (42), Minnesota (37), North Carolina (26), Tennessee (24), Colorado (23), Indiana (23), Iowa (22), Oklahoma (21), South Carolina (21), Wisconsin (19), Arkansas (18), New Mexico (16), Mississippi (14), Illinois (13) Texas (11), Virginia (11), Alabama (10), Florida (9), and Wyoming (9). Click here and scroll down to individual states’ information to see which Nebraska cooperatives are currently utilizing solar.
  • NRECA’s Interactive Map: Cooperative Wind Across the Country, shows that.564 cooperatives in 37 states use wind as a source of power. Nebraska ranks 5th among those states, with 30 co-ops utilizing wind, following Minnesota (44), Missouri (41), Indiana (38), and Iowa (31). Source: ” Click here and scroll down to individual states’ information, including a list of all 30 Nebraska cooperatives using wind.

Déjà Vu as Co-ops Lead in Satisfaction

By Michael W. Kahn
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Strong showings from electric cooperatives, as well as greater satisfaction among all electric consumers, are among the highlights of a new J.D. Power report. The firm’s 2017 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study shows several co-ops with top-of-the-chart scores besting many investor-owned and municipal utilities. Read more here.

Facts from NRECA’s Website on Cooperatives and Renewable Energy

  • Electric cooperatives across the country are actively expanding their future portfolios to include an array of renewable energy
  • Currently, 95% of NRECA’s distribution members offer renewable options to 40 million Americans
  • Co-ops own nearly 1.3 GW of renewable capacity and have long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for more than 7.3 GW – in addition to roughly 10 GW of preference power contracts with federal hydroelectric facilities.

Solar Deployment and Co-Op Solar

  • By the end of 2017, the total solar energy capacity of America’s electric cooperatives will be five times what it was two years ago.
  • This year, co-ops are on pace to add 480 MW of solar, which would bring their total capacity to 872 MW. This more than quadruples the 180 MW reached in 2015 and represents a 20-fold increase over the 37 MW capacity in 2010.
  • In addition, over the last two years, cooperatives have expanded their solar footprint from 34 states to 44 states.
  • 133 cooperatives in 30 states offer community solar programs

Q&A: How rural co-ops can help lead the smart grid transition

 Written by David J. Unger, Midwest Energy News

Rural electric cooperatives spread across the U.S. in the 1930s to electrify parts of the country where as many as nine out of ten rural homes lacked electricity. Today, many of those co-ops are building on that legacy by deploying an advanced, 21st-century version of the electricity distribution systems they brought to farms decades ago. In some cases, rural America is seeing the smart grid arrive at their doorstep well before their urban and suburban counterparts. As the newly elected, two-year-term president of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), Phil Carson has a bird’s-eye view of grid modernization efforts underway in rural America. Continue reading.

Phil Carson, director of the Tri-County Electric Co-op in Illinois, is the new president of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Rural Solar Stories: New! Dairyland Power Cooperative

Dairyland Power became a national leader in 2016 when they began implementing a plan to develop up to 25 megawatts (MW) of solar power. This project makes Dairyland a national solar leader with one of the largest solar projects of any rural electric cooperative, nationwide. Click here to read more, watch a 1-minute video and view a series of 13 photos and a Map of Dairyland Power Cooperative Solar Project Sites.

MORE RURAL SOLAR STORIES

ON RURAL SOLAR STORIES.ORG YOU WILL ALSO FIND

ABOUT RURAL SOLAR STORIES.ORG
Rural Solar Success Stories is hosted by the Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC). ELPC is a Midwestern legal and policy advocacy group that works for renewable energy in many ways, including as a leading supporter for the energy programs of the Farm Bill.

NATIONAL RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATION’S INTERACTIVE MAP
According to NRECA’s data, 352 cooperatives in 43 states utilize solar as a source of power, including 7 in Nebraska, 10 in Iowa, 37 in Minnesota, 19 in Wisconsin, 1 in South Dakota, 22 in Colorado, and 3 in Kansas. Click here to link to NRECA’s Solar Map. Scroll down and click on any state to learn more about rural cooperatives’ utility-scale and community solar development nationwide.

RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO NATIONAL COOPERATIVES

Co-Ops Bring Solar to Hundreds of Rural Communities

By Tina Casey, Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit

The U.S. Energy Department pushed out a raft of good news for renewable energy fans this past week. Of particular note is an update on the PV System Toolkit supported by the agency’s SunShot solar initiative. The toolkit focuses on helping rural communities partake in the surging solar market that cities and suburban communities now enjoy. The new PV System Toolkit demonstrates just how deeply the solar industry is now embedded in the civic infrastructure of the US. The effort is helmed by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), which won an Energy Department ‘Sunrise’ award designed to cut costs by developing templates for replicating solar innovations. Read more.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

America’s Electric Co-ops Are Going Big On Solar

 Posted by Joseph Bebon, Solar Industry Magazine  

By the end of 2017, the total solar energy capacity of America’s electric cooperatives will be five times what it was two years ago, according to data released by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). This year, co-ops are on pace to add 480 MW of solar, which would bring their total capacity to 873 MW. This more than quadruples the 180 MW reached in 2015 and represents a twenty-fold increase over the 37 MW capacity in 2010. In addition, NRECA says that over the last two years, cooperatives have expanded their solar footprint from 34 states to 44 states. Click here to continue reading.

Photo: Sheep graze at the site of one of Vernon Electric Cooperative’s solar arrays in Wisconsin. Credit: Vernon Electric Cooperative

Lawrence, Kansas set to spend $11.4 million on energy efficiency, other sustainability projects

By Robert Valverde, Lawrence Journal World

lawrence-solar-project

The City of Lawrence is preparing to make millions of dollars worth of facility
upgrades — including solar panels, LED lights and smart thermostats — in order to make its operations more energy-efficient. “The savings each year would be the same as taking over 750 cars off the road and planting over 3,000 tress, in terms of an environmental benefit,” said Eileen Horn, sustainability coordinator for Lawrence and Douglas County. Continue reading.

Photo: A computer rendering shows solar panels on the roof of Fire Station Number 5, 1911 Steward Avenue in Lawrence, Kansas. About $11.4 million of sustainability projects have been added to the city’s capital improvement plan for 2017.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING