The role of rural electric co-ops in a clean-energy future
"Electric coops in the nation lead the country in the deployment of smart meters and Oregon electric coops are really at the vanguard of this." - Ted Case, ORECA
From Climate Solutions' Harvesting Clean Energy program:
The June 29 Harvesting Clean Energy Report on Line on Agriculture:
People who live in rural areas of Oregon, like most states, depend on rural electric coops for their power. Ted Case is the Executive Director for the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association and he talks about how these coops fit into the renewable energy picture.
CASE: Oregon’s rural electric coops, we have 18 of them in the state, about 200-thousand customers. We get our power, almost 90% of it from the federal hydro system on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. So we are by definition hydro, clean and renewable from the get-go so we feel very good about our role in clean energy and greenhouse gas emissions and all that. In addition to the hydro we’ve invested in other renewable resources. We’re looking at geothermal technology; we’ve invested in solar technology; investigating potential wave energy along the Oregon Coast.
Wave energy is an exciting technology that is just barely getting off the ground.
CASE: Several of our coops through the Pacific Northwest Generating Cooperative which is a generating transmission coop have put up some money and done some research and investigation into wave energy. There’s going to be a test buoy that’s going to be going out onto the Oregon coast. This is very cutting edge technology and the first one on the west coast for sure and we’re going to see how it works.
He says this is just one part of investigating new and exciting renewable technologies and that includes new things like smart meters.
CASE: It is not well known but electric coops in the nation lead the country in the deployment of smart meters and Oregon electric coops are really at the vanguard of this. Many of the systems have rolled out the AMI system, the automated metering infrastructure, which allows for this 2-way system and what we’re finding is consumers are very interested in not getting just a bill at the end of the month and finding out how much they used but checking their usage daily.
I remember the days of going to coop meetings when I was a kid and Case says things have changed.
CASE: There’s sort of a generational shift and the country is electrified now but there’s still a very exciting role for electric coops. People want energy efficiency, they want renewables but what they really want is affordable, reliable power when you get down to it and that’s what I think we offer as good as anybody in the state or the northwest for that matter.
To listen to this interview, visit the AgInformation Network website.
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