Why Reliable Energy Matters for Co-ops

The ability to keep the lights on is a cornerstone of the American economy. And as the nation leans on electricity to power more of our economy, failing to live up to the fundamental premise of affordable, reliable electricity could devastate American families and businesses.

This is no longer a theoretical conversation. In December, rolling blackouts hit nine states as demand for electricity exceeded available supply. We can’t afford to get this wrong. Today’s energy decisions determine if there are enough resources for the lights to come on tomorrow.

A changing energy landscape that prioritizes speed over practicality has jeopardized America’s ability to keep the lights on. Policymakers should recalibrate their focus on common-sense solutions that don’t jeopardize reliability or punish low-income families and our economy.  Those two choices don’t need to be at odds.

Driven by a focus on keeping the lights on, electric cooperatives have demonstrated what a responsible approach to meeting tomorrow’s energy needs can look like. Electric co-ops substantially lowered their carbon emissions by 23% between 2005 and 2020, the equivalent of taking nearly 9 million cars off the road. They’ve also invested in energy innovation technologies to help meet tomorrow’s electricity needs with speed and flexibility.

Legislation related to energy reliability is being discussed at the state and federal level and it’s important that elected officials understand how these policies can impact co-op members. The long-term solution requires policymakers and regulators to recognize the need for time, technology development and new transmission infrastructure. These are the essential ingredients for an energy future that prioritizes reliable electricity for all consumers, including the 42 million Americans served by electric cooperatives.

Electric co-ops know how to serve their local communities best and there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to providing reliable energy for all co-ops. VCP will continue to support policy proposals that advocate for a broad energy portfolio that allows co-ops to choose the best resource mix to provide their local communities with reliable and affordable power.

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