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Setting National Co-op Policies

More than 9,000 electric co-op leaders from 47 states met in Nashville in March for an annual meeting of training, issues briefings, and voting on policy resolutions to guide the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

The resolutions covered topics from energy supply to protecting employee retirement benefits. They will guide co-op leaders as they work to influence policy at local, state, and national levels.

Sources of energy to generate electricity were a special focus of the meeting. A top issue is the concern relating to federal policies to limit carbon emissions, and how those policies could affect the cost and reliability of electricity.

NRECA’s CEO Jo Ann Emerson cautioned that coal-based power generation needs to be a strong part of the nation’s energy mix even for the long-term future. However, she noted the lead role of electric co-ops in developing and using alternative energy.

“Ninety-four percent of our members offer renewable energy options,” she said in her address to the meeting. “We’re leaders in renewable energy and efficiency technologies.”

Resolutions approved by the delegates at the meeting would:

• Support research into technology to mitigate carbon emissions;

• Promote a diversity of fuels used to generate electricity;

• Modernize engineering and technical standards for electricity transmission and distribution systems;

• Encourage development of electricity storage technology that could allow easier implementation of renewable energy systems.

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