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.
This story is a part of the ongoing Back 40 series, where HCN reporters look at national trends and their impacts close to home.
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:
- Project Scoping
Solar Decision Guide
Cost & Finance Screening Tool
- Learning More
- Detailed Planning
Project Manager’s Quick Start Guide
Community Solar Playbook
NRECA – SUNDA Impact Guide
- Building Consensus
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.
Cooperative Leadership Network Webinar: What Co-op Leaders Need To Know About Community Solar, October 30, 2018, 2 to 3 pm