Currents

Co-ops finding ways to integrate renewable energy

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has joined with a ­coalition of energy technology ­partners to create a tool for ­developing and ­testing what could be a critical ­component of the future electrical grid. Led by Atlanta-based ProsumerGrid, Inc., the group signed a ­$3-million contract with the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy […]

Energy shortages possible in 2018

The Organization of MISO States (OMS) and MISO in their annual resource adequacy survey indicate that the MISO region has adequate capacity for 2017 with potential shortages in 2018 and beyond. The assessment shows that the region should be able to meet the expected peak demand for elec­tricity with an adequate safety margin for 2017. […]

Illinois pioneers of rural electrification

Earl W. Struck Earl W. Struck joined the AIEC in 1979 as a public affairs represen­tative in the Legal and Public Affairs Department. He became director of that department in 1983, and in 1994 became the third CEO of the AIEC, replacing the retired Thomas H. Moore. Struck was known as a master at building […]

USDA interest-free loan helps expand rural jobs

Global demand for high-quality, American-made products is well established, and expanded rural exports have the potential to support additional jobs and growth in rural America. On June 3, Sam Rikkers, USDA Rural Development Administrator for Rural Business Services, was able to share that message from the production facility of IHI Turbo America, a manufacturing company […]

Staying and planting roots in Southern Illinois

There’s been much hand wringing of late about people fleeing Illinois as the political climate here sours. Even before that, the rural “brain drain” – a phenomenon of the best and brightest leaving rural America in droves – has taken its toll. Only New Jersey outstrips Illinois in terms of the rate at which young people […]

Electric cooperatives add 100 megawatts of wind power

Hoosier Energy Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc. and Wabash Valley Power Association have entered into a 20-year purchase power agreement that will add 100 ­megawatts (MW) of wind energy. The wind power agreement with EDP Renewables North America (EDPR NA) is for 100 MW from the Meadow Lake V Wind Farm located in northwest Indiana. Under the […]

Got electricity? Thank a lineman

Despite improvements, line work remains a dangerous job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts electric ­utility line work among the nation’s top 10 most hazardous ­professions, according to the agency’s most recent census using 2014 data. Electric line technicians recorded a 19.2 fatality rate per 100,000 workers, ninth on the list. While the number […]

State agencies pledge to share data to provide better services

Illinois is in the midst of an IT transformation to modernize its systems to provide state services more quickly and at a lower cost. Due to aging systems that cannot communicate with each other – particularly in the case of human services agencies – residents must call multiple agencies to find info­rmation or sign up […]

Agriculture Secretary announces Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund

In May, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the launch of a new private investment fund with the potential to inject $100 million into small food and agriculture businesses across rural America. The fund is known as the Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund. “Like their counterparts in urban areas, innovative small businesses throughout rural America need […]

Illinois Renewable Energy Conference July 21

John Freitag, Vice President of Operations for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives and Executive Director for the Geothermal Alliance of Illinois, will be speaking at the third annual Illinois Renewable Energy Conference to be held Thursday, July 21, at the Bone Student Center of Illinois State University in Normal. The conference is led by […]