Congress takes on electric reliability
Co-ops Vote aims to boost turnout
FEDERAL AND STATE ENERGY POLICIES that rush to replace fossil fuel power plants with renewable energy are coming under scrutiny amid increased concerns about the reliability of the electric grid.
A roundtable hosted by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee sought answers after rolling blackouts during extreme cold in late December.
“Intermittent power from wind and solar is not the same product as on-demand power from a coal fire or a natural gas power plant,” Energy Policy Research Foundation President Lou Pugliaresi testified at the hearing. “On-demand power is more valuable than intermittent power and we need to also understand that managing intermittent power when it gets to a high percentage of the system, the costs just go through the roof.”
While new technologies are being developed, proven power sources must continue, especially with electricity demands increasing, the energy experts told lawmakers.
“Our electric power system works on the principles of physics and engineering, not aspirational goals. And today more than ever, people are counting on us to get that right,” said Pat O’Loughlin, CEO of Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives.
Secretary of State Michael Adams speaks to students about the importance of voting. Photo: Tim Webb
After disappointing Kentucky voter turnout in the 2022 election, the state’s electric cooperatives are again partnering with Secretary of State Michael Adams on Co-ops Vote, a nonpartisan effort to increase civic engagement.
In Kentucky’s 2022 General Election, 41.9% of registered voters cast a ballot, the lowest turnout for a midterm election in nearly 30 years. In 11 Kentucky counties, the voter turnout was below 35%.
“The members of electric cooperatives democratically elect their co-op boards, and it’s important their voices and the concerns of Kentucky’s local communities are also heard in elections for public office,” says Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives.
At the Kentucky State Capitol on March 22, 100 high school students representing electric cooperatives on the Frankfort Youth Tour joined Adams.
”If you want the government to pay attention, you need to vote,” Adams says. “I encourage all Kentucky voters to take advantage of the recently increased ease in voting, and to be heard.”
Ahead of the May 16 Primary Election Day, Kentucky provides for mail-in absentee voting, and two periods of in-person early voting. For the latter, from May 3–10, voters must provide an approved excuse for why they will not be able to vote on election day. From May 11–13, voters do not have to provide an excuse to cast an absentee ballot.
Kentuckians can connect with elected leaders and candidates, and stay informed on issues at RuralPowerKY.com, a grassroots portal that links to Co-ops Vote resources.
Youth Tour students also met with Gov. Andy Beshear, Senate President Robert Stivers and State Rep. Samara Heavrin.
Gov. Andy Beshear visits with Frankfort Youth Tour participants on March 22. Photo: Tim Webb