2022 Year in Review
The air is crisp and suddenly pumpkin spice flavoring is being added to everything. If I could figure out how to add pumpkin spice to the electron flowing into your home, I would do it. But until we can flavor your electricity, I am left reflecting on the past year and think about the challenges and accomplishments we have faced. Much has happened in the past year with federal policy along with volatile pricing in the energy market and renewable energy goals. As I reflect on 2022, I want to touch on how the Cooperative has been working to minimize any negative impacts to our members and find ways to provide value when the opportunity arises.
Over the past year, multiple pieces of federal legislation have allocated billions of dollars to programs that could provide a benefit to Union County Electric Cooperative. While the rules are still being written for many of these programs, representatives at our national trade organization, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) are working with the administration to help define how these programs will work. We continue to monitor to see if there is something available that Union County Electric can take advantage of to bring additional value to our members.
Headlines across the country have talked about high energy prices. There is much more complexity to how the energy market works than I can fit into a paragraph or two. But essentially, the power we generate through our power supplier, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, is bid into an energy market. Then the power we need to provide to you, our members, is purchased back out of the market. This provides a hedge against energy price volatility. While this doesn’t make us immune to the inflationary costs, it has helped insulate us from some of the energy market volatility that many others across the country are seeing. My article in the October edition of Cooperative Connections provided a little more detail in how the energy market works.
While new power plant emission regulations were issued in 2020, much of the reality of the impact of these regulations didn’t set in until much later. These federal regulations set a goal for the power sector to be carbon pollution free by 2035. Most objective people familiar with the industry agree that this goal is simply unrealistic and cannot be achieved in the timeline provided. Even if you took the financial impact out of the equation, you physically cannot convert the electric generation landscape to carbon free, in less than 12 years. We continue increasing our renewable generation portfolio when it economically makes sense and investing in our existing power plants to ensure they operate as efficiently as possible. Additionally, we are leading the way in finding innovative and economical solutions to eliminating power plant emissions. We will see how these regulations play out but rest assured that we are here every day ensuring we have the energy resources needed to serve our members needs.
Finally, on behalf of the employees and Board of Directors at Union County Electric Cooperative; I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Until next month, stay safe and God bless.
Quote of the Month: “Once in our world, a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world” – C.S. Lewis, Author