EPA action is first step toward regulation that provides certainty, flexibility

“America’s not-for-profit electric cooperatives need flexibility and a common-sense regulatory framework that provides long-term certainty to meet their ­members’ energy needs,” said Jim Matheson, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s chief executive officer, in response to the EPA’s recent decision to rescind the Clean Power Plan. “This announcement is a critical step toward replacing the Clean Power Plan with a sound ­regulation that adheres to decades of EPA precedent while providing much-needed flexibility and certainty.

“Electric co-ops are dedicated to a healthy ­environment, vibrant rural communities and ­prioritizing the needs of their members. These factors, along with market forces, are driving co-ops to enhance the ­diversity of their electric ­generating portfolio to ­affordably and reliably meet their members’ energy needs.

“We look forward to ­working with the adminis­tration and other stake­holders on solutions that protect our ­environment, promote the diversity of our energy supply and bolster rural America,” Matheson said.

Electric co-ops nationwide are ­reducing their ­carbon footprint, including investing billions of dollars in ­renewable technology and energy efficiency. Since 2005, co-ops have increased electric ­generation by 15 million megawatt-hours while reducing carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 10 percent.

Collectively, co-ops own or purchase more than 18 ­gigawatts of renewable energy capacity, with another 1.4 gigawatts planned. In response to member requests, co-ops have doubled their wind energy use in the past six years and have installed more community solar than any other part of the electric sector.