Currents

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Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative upgrading to new generation of smart meter

Just like the Apple watch is replacing the old windup pocket watch of your grandfather’s, smart meter tech­nology is replacing old mechanical meters like this old REA meter. And while some utilities are just beginning to roll out smart meters, Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative, Winchester, one of the first in the state to install smart […]

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America’s Electric Cooperatives. #WeKeepTheLightsOn

America’s Electric Cooperatives keep the lights on for 42 ­million Americans across 47 states. That’s more than 18.5 million businesses, farms, and homes. All told, cooperatives maintain 2.5 million miles of electric distribution lines – enough to stretch around the world 100 times.

Video contest challenge for high school students

The Energy Education Council (EEC) and Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) have launched a new contest to help raise ­awareness about outdoor electrical safety in Illinois. The program, called the “Safe Electricity High School Challenge,” gives high school students the opportunity to ­create video content for an EEC educational campaign. Teams or ­individuals are to design […]

Rural grocery store startup guide available

A new edition of the “Rural Grocery Store Start-Up and Operations Guide” has been released by the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA) at Western Illinois University. The guide is available for free download, ­according to Fred Iutzi, who manages IIRA’s outreach to the food and agriculture sectors. “This guide is a valuable resource for […]

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DOE pulls the plug on hope for Illinois’ FutureGen clean coal project

At a time when our most plentiful and affordable energy source is at a crossroads, the Obama adminis­tration has pulled the plug on FutureGen 2.0., which everyone hoped would be America’s first near-zero emissions coal-fueled power plant. The FutureGen concept was initiated as part of the Clinton Administration’s Vision 21 program and has enjoyed strong […]

EPA delays carbon dioxide rule until mid-summer

Final federal regulations to control carbon dioxide emissions from new, modified and existing electric generating units will be delayed until mid-summer, the Environmental Protection Agency said Jan. 7. NRECA CEO Jo Ann Emerson said EPA should use the extra time to study the 1.2 million comments that flooded the agency from advocates for electric cooperatives […]

Energy forecast predicts more demand and less coal supply

In its recent Short-Term Energy Outlook report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) made its first forecasts of energy supply and demand in 2016. Demand is expected to increase slightly in 2016, while the share of coal-fired generation continues to fall. EIA expects residential retail sales of electricity to decline by 0.3 percent in 2015, […]

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2015 is the International Year of Light

Did you know that the United Nations named 2015 the International Year of Light? Last year’s Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the invention of improved light-emitting diodes, ­better known as LED lamps. Yet, many people switch on the lights without knowing where the elec­tricity comes from, how it is made, or the impact […]

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Hannah recognized by Illinois Cooperative Council

Jacqueline Hannah, General Manager of Common Ground Food Cooperative, Urbana, was ­presented with the 2014 Illinois Cooperative Council’s (ICC) Outstanding Cooperative Manager Award on Monday, Jan. 13. Presenting Hannah (right) with the Illinois Cooperative Council’s Outstanding Manager Award, is ICC Chair Nancy Rhoads McDonald. Hannah also recently became the Co-op Development Specialist with the national […]

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Community solar project opened at Jo-Carroll Energy

This year could be a tremendous year for community solar system development. “The biggest trend for solar at utilities is community solar,” says Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) Senior Research Manager Becky Campbell, co-author of the report “Expanding Solar Access Through Utility-led Community Solar.” Community solar is a shared renewable ­program that allows co-op members […]