Matheson: Affordable Clean Energy Rule Promotes Flexibility, Certainty

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Environmental Protection Agency’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule provides flexibility and certainty while addressing carbon emissions from existing power sources, NRECA CEO Jim Matheson said today.

“This final rule represents a more flexible path forward that will minimize the cost to consumers and preserve the reliability of the electric grid as electric co-ops work to promote a healthy environment and vibrant rural communities,” Matheson said. “Electric cooperatives have invested billions of dollars in diverse energy sources and emission-reduction technology to meet the electricity needs of their local communities while protecting the environment. The final ACE rule gives electric cooperatives the ability to adopt evolving technology and respond to market and consumer demands while continuing to serve as engines of economic development for one in eight Americans.”

Nearly 60 percent of the electricity supplied by electric co-ops comes from low- or no-emission energy sources. Electric cooperatives have reduced emissions from their electric generation sources significantly since 2009 and are investing in research to develop proven carbon capture, storage and reuse technology that can extend the operation of fossil fuel power plants. In comments that were filed on the rule, NRECA encouraged EPA to adhere to its proposal to regulate “within the fence line” of a facility by allowing states to make assessments based on federal guidelines at each power plant regarding additional steps that may be required to reduce emissions. EPA’s final rule follows this suggestion.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national trade association representing more than 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.