The members of Prairie Power, Inc. (PPI), a generation and transmission cooperative serving 10 central Illinois distribution cooperatives, held their Annual Meeting, Feb. 8 in Springfield. President and CEO Jay Bartlett said the generation and transmission cooperative (G&T), serving 10 Illinois distribution co-ops, is working hard to improve system reliability and manage rates, while building fiber optic infrastructure for smart grid communications and economic development, and investing in coal and wind energy.
Bartlett expressed optimism for the future of the co-op but also concern for the economy and energy markets. “U.S. debt, the European economy, all of these factors could lead to shocks without options. All of this is impacting energy markets and making risk-management key,” said Bartlett.
ACES Power Marketing, owned by 19 member cooperatives including PPI, helps keep rates stable by managing power portfolio risks. David Tudor, President/CEO of ACES, told the members at the PPI meeting that transmission congestion would be a growing issue. Tudor told the members, “You are in a really good position. My advice is look for portfolio diversity and be patient.”
PPI and Southern Illinois Power Cooperative (SIPC), along with co-ops and municipal utilities in other states have invested in Prairie State Energy Campus, which is ready to go online now. Both PPI and SIPC along with the Indiana G&T, Wabash Valley Power, have invested in the Pioneer Trail Wind Farm, a 150-megawatt wind farm in Ford County, Illinois. Diversified power portfolios along with the services of ACES Power Marketing, will help the co-ops manage power supply risk.