Rural Power: The Time is Now, This is How - Shared screen with speaker view
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Liz Veazey, she/her, Omaha, NE, work for Solar United Neighbors with rural electric co-op member owners in VA/AZ/PA/CO/FL & beyond.
Hi and welcome everyone! Can you please post your name, pronouns, location, and organization or electric co-op in the chat?
Hey all, Jess Grady-Benson she/they with Rogue Climate, Oregon
Hello! Kate French, she/her, Livingston MT with BlueGreen Alliance
Catherine Robinson, she/her, One Voice, Jackson, Mississippi
Collectively, electric co-ops across the country hold more than $100B in debt
Two-thirds of all electricity sold to member-owners of electric cooperatives is fossil fueled, and electric cooperatives account for 1/5 of all carbon pollution in the power sector. In fact, nine of the thirteen most carbon intensive utilities in the U.S. are cooperatives. At the same time, electric cooperatives serve 90% of counties Federally-recognized for persistent poverty.
Rural America and the entire country need a massive reinvestment. Our leaders in Washington must be bold, and together we are calling on them to invest $100 billion in rural infrastructure and the future of our communities through the federally insured hardship loan program with conditions for forgiveness.
Can we have coops in city? https://yellowdragonblog.com/2019/02/14/tenderloin-power-and-heat-cooperative/
awesome presentation, thank you
Andrea Miller is Founding Board Member, Reclaim Our VoteExecutive Director, People Demanding ActionFounding President, National Women’s Political Caucus of VirginiaFounding Tri-Chair Virginia Poor People’s CampaignMember of the Democracy and Governance working group of the Virginia Green New Deal.
Thank you Andrea!!
A question to the audience: What would be your priorities for your rural electric co-op’s plan for a just transition to a zero-carbon economy? (Please be sure to change the "to" option in the chat to "all panelists and attendees" before submitting your response)
love love love you Andrea
We will be introducing a bill in Virginia to provide oversight of rural electric cooperatives on elections, energy investments, lobbying activities, etc.
What are your interests, views, and or questions as a member owner who wants to win a rural energy transition?
Do all Coops have stakeholder meetings? And how can I find out if ours does?
Do you have the right geology to sequester carbon?
Few rural coops have stakeholder meetings. Including member owners is rare.
Hi Kathy - all co-ops have annual member meetings, where votes on board members and policy issues often happen. There are also monthly board meetings, but those aren’t always open to members. You should be able to find out via your bylaws or on your co-op’s website.
Electric coops are pretty much obligated to have annual meetings. The substance and process of these vary greatly. In my experience it is rare that these annual meetings present any opportunity for discussions of any substance.
All Y’all Are THE BEST - visionaries and implementors! #RuralPower
By all means, go to your annual meeting. You also have a board member that presumably represents you. Find out who that is and talk to them about your concerns.
this is great thank you
Very excited about the implications of the Virginia bill that @Andrea mentioned! Sadly, I think that state legislation is required to get open board meetings and allow members to actually engage in their co-op governance. (Colorado & South Carolina have already passed laws in this regard)
Our Annual Meeting is in August and we just got the Proxy ballot; that is one of the things that we want to legislate out of existence.
@Michael -- to me, the Great River Energy decision demonstrates the importance of organizing on-the-ground member-owner power. Anything that is given can be taken away, so the only way to build durable, sustainable change at RECs -- outside of new legislation -- is for member-owners to have the power to make the decisions they want to see. (Granted, that is twice is hard at the G&T board level...)
Joe - there are groups working nationally to advance a federal renewable energy standard, which could apply to many rural electric cooperatives. But, without the funding (and associated conditions) that standard will be very difficult to achieve. Our proposal would create funding for both G&T co-ops, and distribution co-ops (like Powell Valley).
Richard, thanks for your info on solar interconnection fees at your co-op in IN. $1000 is ridiculous! I just looked into some of the largest electric co-op fees for interconnection and they ranged from $0-$100.
Just to clarify for all, our Federal Hardship Loan proposal would be accessible for both G&T co-ops and distribution co-ops. Each would have conditions for eligibility and for forgiveness of the loans, as Philip is talking about now.
Imagine you had a electric farm IE the machinery is electric then your Methane you produce is carbon free Then you burn this for electricity.Why? This would be for a all electrical vehicle fleet
Just learned that I sent out a dud link to the google form! Don’t despair - we will follow up via email after the town hall :)
Thank you everyone!
My mom belonged to the coop in Bend Or it is now a big town!
They already do. The largest ‘rural coop’ in MN ,138,000 members, is in the metro area of Minneapolis
With the purchase of Municipal Light and Power in Anchorage by Chugach Electric Co-op, the only part of Alaska not considered rural (Anchorage) is part of a co-op
for more information about our campaign: https://www.ruralpower.us/
There are some efforts to take investor owned utilities in cities to municipal utilities. Check out the work done by Minneapolis Energy Options and Empower Boulder
thanks everyone, to answer question my coop in Fargo is rural and city combined, very difficult to get local energy projects with them because of that ND is last in nation when it comes to solar generation despite all the land we have.
Coops should go heat pumps and solar
Then you are selling power to the coop
yes definitely not alone in this
Thanks. I wanted to understand the issues better though I am not a member of a co-op (unfortunately). Small town resident...Xcel Energy..hoping to install solar panels. Great presentations!
I’ve gotta run, but I very much plan to spread the “good news” of this incredible platform and want every group that is a member of the US Climate Action Network (USCAN) and the Southeast Climate & Energy Network (SCEN) to engage! #TogetherWeWillWin #RuralPower #AwakenAmerica #JusticeFirst
Sachie Hayakawa (NEC)
I was invited to this call by KFTC and I wonder how many member-owners are as clueless as me.
thanks for all this