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Commentary Researching ways to hold down costs M


Chris Meyers General Manager, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


ore and more, the electric util- ity industry is facing increas-


ing costs when it comes to generating, transmitting, and delivering


electric


power to meet consumers’ needs. Some of those costs are being incurred due to


increasing regulations that impact both current and future power generation plants, largely re- volving around the types of fuel used to generate electricity.


Following President Obama’s announcement in late June that he was directing the Environmental Protection Agency to use the Clean Air Act to regu- late greenhouse gases—like carbon dioxide which is emitted from existing power plants—our national trade association, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), launched a campaign to help consumers understand the poten- tial impact of such regulation.


NRECA’s new initiative involves a new website, www.action.coop and is meant to engage electric co-op members directly in the effort to keep electric bills affordable. I encourage you to visit this new ‘take-action’ website, and sign up to learn more about ways to keep your electricity affordable. With increasing electricity prices we will have to


fi nd ways to be more effi cient on the utility side as well as the consumer side. One of the primary mis- sions of every electric cooperative is to participate in research projects that focus on making electricity generation, distribution and usage more effi cient. NRECA has a research branch, the Cooperative Research Network (CRN) that is dedicated specifi - cally to these efforts.


CRN and its research activities have led to ad- vances in wind power technology, bio-digester tech- nology, distributed and utility-scale solar power projects, energy storage technology, and plug-in electric vehicle performance enhancements. An article about advancements in electric vehicle tech- nology can be found on page 12 of this issue. Did you know that wind energy became the No. 1 source of new electricity generation capacity in the United States for the fi rst time in 2012? It’s a fact: according to the Department of Energy, wind energy represented 43 percent of all new electric generation additions in 2012. Oklahoma is among the national leaders in deploying advanced wind technology to generate affordable, environmentally friendly electric energy. Whether their research involves fuel cells, solar panels, fl uorescent light bulbs, wind turbines, electric vehicles, or fi nding ways to make your home appliances more energy effi cient, CRN is dedicated to keeping electricity affordable – be- cause that’s your bottom line.


Oklahoma: a leader in wind generation ‘


O


Joe Harris President, Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


klahoma is an en- ergy state.’ When this statement is said, we almost


always associate it with the oil and gas industry that has served our state so well. Yet, there is another energy source—just as ancient as the petroleum industry—


that has served mankind since the beginning. It powered commerce and exploration voyages around the world, and it has pumped water in the most arid of regions. We even celebrate it in our state song, “Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain.” It’s the wind. In Kay Electric Cooperative’s service area, where I work, there are already two large wind farms and another three under construction or proposed. The cost of electricity from these wind projects is also the most economical we have seen from a consum- er’s point of view. Today’s prices compete favorably with natural gas generation. The real limiting factor


4 WWW.OK-LIVING.COOP


about wind power is that it’s not dispatchable or dependable as a baseload generation source. Now if we could fi nd a way to store it, the whole industry would change. I am aware of some research projects in which large utility scale batteries and compressed air cavern storage are under development, in at- tempts to store this power and make it available— even when there is no wind blowing. We currently have to take wind when it’s avail- able and have enough fossil fuel generation to meet peak usage times, which are generally during the hottest time of the year. Have you ever noticed that the wind rarely blows on those hottest of days? Oklahoma is favorably located, and it has be- come a leading wind generation provider in our country. We still need massive infrastructure im- provements to be able to move that power to mar- kets, most of which will not be in our state. We must balance the opportunity this presents with the reality of what that means to our members and landowners while constructing these projects. Stay tuned, this industry is poised to blow and go!


Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives


Chris Meyers, General Manager Joe Harris, President


Jimmy Taylor, Vice-President Kendall Beck, Secretary Gary McCune, Treasurer


Staff


Sid Sperry, Director of PR & Communications sksperry@oaec.coop


Anna Politano, Managing Editor editor@ok-living.coop


Larry Skoch, Advertising Manager lskoch@ok-living.coop


Christy Johnson, Offi ce Manager cjohnson@oaec.coop


Kirbi Bailey, Accountant/Offi ce Manager Asst. kbailey@oaec.coop


Hayley Leatherwood, Multimedia Specialist hleatherwood@ok-living.coop


Kaylan Watkins, Intern intern@oaec.coop


Editorial, Advertising and General Offi ces


P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309 Phone (405) 478-1455


Oklahoma Living online: www.ok-living.coop Subscriptions


$3.12 per year for rural electric cooperative members.


$6.00 per year for non-members. Cooperative Members: Report change of


address to your local rural electric cooperative. Non-Cooperative Members: Send address


changes to Oklahoma Living, P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309.


Oklahoma Living (ISSN 1064-8968),


USPS 407-040, is published monthly for consumer-members of Oklahoma’s rural electric cooperatives by the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives, 2325 E. I-44 Service Road,


P.O. Box 54309, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-1309. Circulation this issue: 317,062


Periodical postage paid at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Association of Electric


Cooperatives is a statewide service organization for the following electric cooperatives: Alfalfa, Arkansas Valley, Caddo, Canadian Valley,


Central Rural, Choctaw, Cimarron, Cookson Hills, Cotton, East Central Oklahoma, Harmon, Indian, KAMO Power, Kay, Kiamichi, Kiwash, Lake Region, Northeast Oklahoma, Northfork,


Northwestern, Oklahoma, Ozarks, People’s, Red River Valley, Rural, Southeastern, Southwest


Rural, Tri-County, Verdigris Valley, and Western Farmers Electric Cooperative.


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