NRECA urges investment in DOE partnerships with rural cooperatives

Published on July 07, 2016 by Alyssa Michaud

In a set of comments recently submitted to the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) called for greater investments in the nation’s member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives.

“[E]lectric cooperatives, and the electric utility industry in general, are faced with disruptive and potentially fundamental changes as a result of rapidly evolving technologies and policy initiatives,” NRECA’s said. “Fostered by federal and state mandates and incentives and fueled by decreasing system costs, solar photovoltaic generation is one such technology whose growth presents new realities with financial and strategic implications for how cooperatives do business.”

NRECA’s recommendations focused on the development of partnerships between co-ops and the DOE, skilled labor shortages, the alignment of efficiency standards and national energy policy, and the timeliness of permit decisions.

“Co-ops have achieved national recognition for their early and widespread deployment of smart grid technologies, energy efficiency, and local distributed generation such as community-based solar,” NRECA said. “By empowering their member-owners to decide for themselves and fulfill their wants and needs, the cooperative business model allows for innovative solutions to balancing competing policy priorities and local conditions while ensuring reliable, affordable, and sustainable electric power.”

NRECA represents more than 900 electric cooperatives in 47 states, providing power to 42 million people.