Burying power lines costs five to ten times more

After every major outage storm like Hurricane Sandy there is always what seems like a logical question, “why not bury all the lines?” What most utility customers, commen­tators and political leaders may not understand is just how much more expensive underground line construction can be. This past summer the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released a primer on the cost ...Read More

FDA release of food safety rules

The Food and Drug ­Adminis­tration released proposed rules detailing standards for produce safety and preventive controls for human food production in January. The release of the rules is a major step in the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) signed into law two years ago. The law is the first significant overhaul to our nation’s food safety laws ...Read More

EPA finalizes emergency generator rule

Electric cooperatives will be able to use small emergency generators, with restrictions and paperwork requirements, to ensure a ­stable flow of electricity at the local and regional level, under new federal regulations.In a rule announced Jan. 15, the Environmental Protection Agency said units could run 100 hours a year for emergency demand response, maintenance and testing without being subjected to ...Read More

Rail shipping costs increasing for coal

Over the last 10 years shipping coal by railroad to power plants has increased almost 50 percent, and rail accounts for 70 percent of the transportation of coal, according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Though there are significant regional differences, transportation cost accounts for 40 percent of the average overall cost of coal. With a ...Read More

The grid is made up of small distribution lines and large transmission lines like this. The transmission grid is analogous to an interstate highway system for electricity. The Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. (MISO) plans and operates this interstate highway for ­electricity. PPI, a generation and transmission co-op serving the generation and transmission needs of 10 central Illinois distribution co-ops recently joined MISO. Being a MISO transmission owner will ensure the co-op has a say when it comes to the planning and operations of the transmission grid.

Prairie Power, Inc. join MISO

On Feb. 21, the Board of Directors of the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. (MISO) approved the application of Prairie Power, Inc. (PPI) to be formally recognized as a transmission owner. PPI is a central Illinois generation and transmission (G&T) ­cooperative headquartered in Jacksonville and owned by 10 electric distribution cooperatives.  MISO is an essential link in the safe, ...Read More

Report says co-ops leading in smart grid growth

Federal regulators are paying attention to the work electric cooperatives are doing in advancing smart grid technologies among their members. Electric co-ops lead the nation in adoption of smart grid technologies for their members, federal regulators say. A report issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) noted that co-ops remained national ­leaders in implementing advanced metering in 2012. Electric ...Read More

Co-ops develop smart grid and renewable energy evaluation tool

Electric cooperatives and other ­utilities will soon have a customizable set of tools that will help decision-makers determine the potential value of adding smart grid components and renewable energy to their distribution feeders. The Cooperative Research Network’s (CRN) Open Modeling Framework will enable electric co-op and other utility planners to make projections about the impact of solar panels and other ...Read More

Illinois Residential Energy Conservation Code updated

On January 1, 2013, the State of Illinois implemented the 2012 Illinois Energy Conservation Code. The update is based on the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code with Illinois amendments through the Illinois Energy Efficient Building Act.   For example, the new code requires R-49 ceiling insulation, R-20 in the walls and R-19 for insulating the floors.   As part of ...Read More


Grants will open new markets for fresh produce in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is accepting applications for federal specialty crop grants. The funds from the USDA are intended to strengthen the com­petitiveness of the state’s specialty crop industry. “Expanding access to nutritious, homegrown Illinois food is one of my top priorities,” Agriculture Director Bob Flider said. “If we could increase local food purchases to just 10 percent ...Read More

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Ridenour receives Touchstone Energy Cooperatives Distingushed Service Award

Aaron Ridenour, manager of marketing and business development at Prairie Power, Inc., received the Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives Distinguished Service Award during the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Annual Meeting held in New Orleans, February 15-21. The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor bestowed by Touchstone Energy Cooperatives and is presented annually to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to ...Read More