Ahead of SOTU: Energy Policy Decisions Can’t Leave Americans in the Dark

ARLINGTON, Va. – As President Biden prepares to deliver his State of the Union address later today, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jim Matheson urged policymakers to pave the way to a brighter energy future by maintaining a core focus on affordability and reliability.

“The decisions we make today are critical to determining whether there are sufficient resources to meet tomorrow’s energy needs. Above all, American families and businesses expect an electric system that is reliable and affordable. It is crucial that policymakers approach national energy policy with this fundamental expectation in mind,” said Matheson.

“As we continue to electrify the economy, the electric grid will continue to be even more important and all the more stressed. Mapping our energy future will require technology innovation, a modernized system to move power from where it’s produced to where it’s used, and time to accomplish new investments in an orderly fashion. Failure is not an acceptable option for the American families and businesses we serve.”

Electric cooperatives remain focused on working toward meaningful solutions to address reliability challenges spreading across the nation. This includes pressing for substantive action to reform the process for permitting and siting new electric generation and transmission infrastructure.

At the same time, NRECA is advocating for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fully utilize $9.7 billion in new funding specifically for electric co-ops to implement energy innovation technologies.  Electric co-ops are prepared to make significant investments in carbon capture, renewable energy production, energy storage, nuclear technologies, and electric generation and transmission efficiency.  However, restrictions or limitations on the program would significantly hinder deployment of the funds.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing nearly 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56 percent of the nation’s landscape. As local businesses built by the consumers they serve, electric cooperatives have meaningful ties to rural America and invest $12 billion annually in their communities.