ARLINGTON, Va. – National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) CEO Jim Matheson today issued the following statement on the inclusion of electric cooperative policy priorities in the Biden administration’s infrastructure proposal.
“We’re encouraged to see electric co-op priorities reflected in President Biden’s infrastructure proposal,” Matheson said. “As we plan for a future that depends on electricity as the primary energy source for a majority of the economy, strategic investments in grid modernization and energy innovation are critical. Equally important is support for expanded rural broadband and other efforts to help rural families and businesses.
“As Congress reflects on this proposal and begins drafting legislation, we look forward to staying engaged to ensure that the priorities of rural America and electric co-ops remain front of mind.”
Some of the provisions that will benefit electric co-ops and their consumer-members include:
- $100 billion to update the nation’s energy grid and expand existing transmission infrastructure.
- Allowing electric co-ops to access direct-pay tax credits for energy innovation, generation, and storage programs.
- $15 billion for energy demonstration projects, including utility-scale battery storage, carbon capture and storage, and advanced nuclear energy.
- Programs to make electricity infrastructure more resilient, including in our most vulnerable communities.
Electric Vehicle Network
- $174 billion investment “to win the EV market,” including grants and incentive programs to build a national network of EV chargers by 2030. Also sets a goal to electrify at least 20% of school bus fleet.
- $100 billion investment in broadband, with a focus on rural areas and tribal lands. It prioritizes support for broadband networks owned, operated or affiliated with non-profits and cooperatives—“providers with less pressure to turn profits and with a commitment to serving entire communities.” It also calls for lifting barriers that prevent rural electric co-ops from competing on a level playing field with private providers.
Support for Rural Communities
- $5 billion for a new Rural Partnership Program to help rural communities expand economic development.
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.