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Co-ops face energy challenges - Rural systems aim to increase renewable power

"Most of the renewable energy is in rural America, and our co-ops serve 75 percent of the American geography. It is important we play a role," said Glenn English, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which is having a regional conference for co-op officials from 14 states through Friday in downtown Cincinnati.

Rural electric cooperatives have the smallest share of the U.S. electric market but play a critical role in delivering renewable energy to consumers, says the CEO of the nonprofit association that represents the nation's 900 consumer-owned cooperatives.

"Most of the renewable energy is in rural America, and our co-ops serve 75 percent of the American geography. It is important we play a role," said Glenn English, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which is having a regional conference for co-op officials from 14 states through Friday in downtown Cincinnati.

The meeting, which has drawn 1,000 people from Michigan to Maine, is one of seven that the group is having in the country to develop grass-roots policymaking leading up to its national convention in February in Las Vegas.

In this region, customer-owned cooperatives supply power to parts of Butler, Hamilton and Clermont counties in Ohio and Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties in Northern Kentucky.

English, a former congressman from Oklahoma, told the opening session Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati that the federal government's "25-x-25'' target (generating 25 percent of the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Rural electric cooperatives have the smallest share of the U.S. electric market but play a critical role in delivering renewable energy to consumers, says the CEO of the nonprofit association that represents the nation's 900 consumer-owned cooperatives.

"Most of the renewable energy is in rural America, and our co-ops serve 75 percent of the American geography. It is important we play a role," said Glenn English, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, which is having a regional conference for co-op officials from 14 states through Friday in downtown Cincinnati.

The meeting, which has drawn 1,000 people from Michigan to Maine, is one of seven that the group is having in the country to develop grass-roots policymaking leading up to its national convention in February in Las Vegas.

In this region, customer-owned cooperatives supply power to parts of Butler, Hamilton and Clermont counties in Ohio and Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties in Northern Kentucky.

English, a former congressman from Oklahoma, told the opening session Wednesday at the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati that the federal government's "25-x-25'' target (generating 25 percent of the nation's energy from renewable sources by 2025) "is a tall order. I don't know if we can achieve it. But I recognize that it's a good goal."

English said afterward that rural co-ops nationally are already generating 11 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, such as wind, biomass and hydro power. Cooperatives deliver about 10 percent of the electric power sold in the United States annually, or about 347 billion kilowatt hours, compared with about 75 percent, or 2,500 billion kilowatt hours, for investor-owned utilities such as Duke Energy and 15 percent, or 539 billion kilowatt hours, for municipal-owned power companies.

But English said co-ops face the same issues as the other power delivery systems: dealing with rising environmental costs, improving efficiency and managing growth.

In the next decade, the nation's co-ops will need to generate 15,000 megawatts of new power estimated to cost $28 billion, on top of the 45,000 megawatts they now provide customers, he said.

"The key challenge we face is can we find enough electricity to keep the lights on for our members and can we do it in a cost-effective manner," he said.

E-mail mboyer@enquirer.com


Source: http://news.enquirer.com/ap...

SEP 8 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/4439-co-ops-face-energy-challenges-rural-systems-aim-to-increase-renewable-power
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