Power & Energy


We’ve been taking stock of the Midwest’s recovery from the floods of 2019, which cost the region dearly. Delayed planting and harvest, loss of livestock, infrastructure damage, and other challenges have taken their toll.
Agricultural irrigation accounts for a significant share of the industrial electrical load served by U.S. utilities, especially in rural & semi-rural areas of Western & Central states.
The world’s largest battery energy storage development project has received the green light from New York’s Public Service Commission. 

As the market for electric vehicles grows, many electric utilities are welcoming the increased demand for power. But uncertainty over fuel economy standards isn’t helping growth.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of proposed rulemaking indicating that the agency seeks much greater authority in the infrastructure permitting processes.

V2G integration is characterized by many EV owners connecting their vehicles to the power grid at their home and/or workplace, at which point the system operator can charge or discharge the EVs’ batteries within agreed-upon parameters.

On November 6, 2018, Nevada voters rejected a proposition that would have fully liberalized the state’s electricity market. 

CoBank sat down with Ty Thompson, vice president and deputy general counsel for director and legal services, and Jessica Healy, assistant general counsel, both of the NRECA, to discuss some of the high-level legal issues that co-ops must understand before moving into broadband.

CoBank sat down with Foster Hildreth, OPALCO’s general manager, and Gerry Lawlor, vice president, Fixed Broadband with T-Mobile to discuss how this unlikely broadband partnership began and the benefits it has provided.

CoBank spoke with Bill Miller, CPA, a tax partner with the firm of Bolinger, Segars, Gilbert & Moss, LLP to get a perspective on the accounting, tax and other issues that surround both creation of a broadband venture and an exit strategy.

CoBank met with Jenny Kartes, finance and administration manager with Arrowhead and Kristi Westbrock, CEO and general manager of CTC, to better understand this non-traditional union and explore its benefits and challenges.

CoBank sat down David Girvan, COO of United Electric Cooperative, and Jasper Schneider, vice president of member and industry at NISC, to discuss the challenges they faced and how they dramatically improved the co-op’s entire customer service function.

Broadband Partnerships

September 2018

Broadband communications is coming to rural America, and the pace of progress remains slow. But there is good news in several areas.

The early market for plug-in electric vehicles has been characterized by modest but steadily increasing sales, high vehicle reliability and customer satisfaction, and a rapid evolution of both vehicle and charging technologies.
More and more rural electric cooperatives are learning that their existing distribution networks can lend themselves to highly efficient deployment of broadband for their member-owners. Based on the distances that define rural America, one of the surest ways to effectively build a broadband network is to use an existing electric co-op infrastructure.
As the cost of renewable energy continues to decline and it becomes more competitive with other power sources, electric cooperatives are turning increasingly to low-cost renewable energy to help meet their members’ power requirements. In lieu of building and owning these generation assets themselves, many are executing long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) at contractually specified prices for renewable energy.
Going forward, significant demand growth will usher in a new era for domestic natural gas markets – one that is defined by the growing influence of international markets as the U.S. becomes a net exporter of natural gas.
The world oil market has transitioned over the past year from a situation characterized by concerns about scarcity based on disruption events to one defined by substantial oversupply. The shift toward substantial oversupply has drawn the market focus back to the question of cartel behavior and the policy preferences of Saudi Arabia and OPEC.
Plummeting oil prices have highlighted the delicate balance between global supply and demand, suppliers’ geopolitical agendas, and the interdependencies among all countries that participate in the international crude market. This global market began softening in July 2014 on the heels of weak global demand and surging production, particularly out of the U.S.
The U.S. solar industry is experiencing exceptionally rapid growth, largely due to falling photovoltaic (PV) solar prices and generous federal and state subsidies. Installations across all market segments – residential, non-residential, and utility-scale – will continue to grow.
Many observers regard the recent shale gas and oil surges as a “game changer” for the U.S. economy, creating new jobs and spin-off industries, fattening tax coffers, driving down energy prices, and moving the nation closer to energy independence. Concerns about the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing have grown along with its rapid expansion.
The solar industry is growing rapidly, due to sharply falling technology prices, volatility in the oil market, government subsidies and support measures, and ongoing environmental concerns.
The major global economies are now undergoing significant economic transitions. The U.S., Europe and China are in the process of realigning their economies to the new economic and geopolitical realities. This process will mean major structural shifts over the next few years, and the magnitude and pace of these transitions will drive U.S. and global economic potential.