(Arlington, Va.) – National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Interim CEO Jeffrey Connor today issued the following statement regarding federal energy policy and tonight’s State of the Union address:
“As the President delivers his final State of the Union address this evening, America’s electric co-ops will be listening for what he has to say about energy issues critically important to co-ops and rural America. Energy policy can have a huge impact on rural areas, which often are disproportionately affected by federal mandates.
“This is certainly the case with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan, the linchpin of the administration’s efforts to meet domestic and international commitments to address climate change. While it’s been suggested that the President tonight may ‘take a victory lap’ to celebrate the Paris climate agreement and EPA rule, co-ops and their member owners are left to foot the bill in the form of higher electricity costs and threats to reliability.
“Based on our latest analysis, we believe that co-ops’ total Clean Power Plan compliance costs will range from $13 billion to $28 billion over the 2022-2030 period. The Clean Power Plan is a serious threat to the economic health and vitality of rural America and jeopardizes co-ops’ ability to produce safe, affordable and reliable electricity.
“At the same time, we recognize that smart federal energy policies can be both affordable and effective. We have partnered with the administration on efforts to accelerate development and deployment of solar technologies and lead the industry in community solar. Co-ops already own or purchase about 16.5 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity, with plans to add more in the pipeline. We have a similar track record on energy efficiency, which co-ops traditionally have promoted as a way to keep members’ bills low. Nationally, 82 percent of electric co-ops offer some type of efficiency program.
“As the President begins his final year in office, we hope his administration keeps in mind the needs and interests of rural America and makes affordable and reliable electricity a top priority.”
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.