Up Front

Looking ahead 2022

Looking ahead

As it does every year, the flip of the calendar brings both opportunities and challenges, and while our challenges for the coming year are significant, the prospects for 2022 seem exciting. The importance of Ohio’s electric cooperatives getting it right — meeting our challenges and seizing those opportunities — is as important as it’s ever been.

Looking Back

Looking back on 2021

This past year was one of transition. COVID-19 began to have less effect on our lives through the year as vaccines became available, and many businesses returned to more normal operations. The federal government underwent a shift in power between the parties and adjusted its focus to different priorities. The recovery in economic activity was hampered by shortages of materials and labor as businesses tried to recover production capacity and supply chains struggled to supply needed goods.

Flipping the light switch

Emissions admissions

There is a lot of discussion taking place on what to do about carbon emissions. In fact, Congress is actively considering proposals that would require dramatic reductions from the electric power sector over the next 10 years.

Since 2005, carbon emissions from U.S. electricity production have been reduced by more than 30%, while other sources of emissions in the U.S. have remained relatively unchanged — and global emissions have continued to increase. That dramatic reduction has been the result of increased use of high-efficiency natural gas power plants and increasing contributions from renewable sources like wind and solar. Electricity production will continue to get cleaner and greener over the next several years.

Solar panels

Sunny side up

As summer has ended and autumn is upon us, your electric cooperatives are making plans for next year.

In 2017, Ohio’s electric cooperative network launched the OurSolar statewide initiative that developed 23 community solar projects across the state. In total, the arrays can provide up to 2 megawatts of renewable energy, under ideal conditions. Consumer-member response to the new community-based solar farms and solar power subscription opportunities was clearly supportive. Panels available for subscription at many participating co-ops sold out almost immediately. 

Cardinal Power Plant

Cardinal rule

Producing electricity for the benefit of the communities we serve requires a continual balancing act among cost, reliability, and environmental impact. We take those often-competing objectives into account as we make decisions and take action.

Electric cooperatives’ decisions regarding the best way to meet your needs for electricity supply are tempered by thoughtful consideration of our responsibility to the nearly 1 million Ohioans whose lives and livelihoods depend upon both a healthy environment and the provision of affordable, reliable electricity. It’s a charge that we don’t take lightly. 

Cardinal Power Plant

The coal hard facts

It’s clear that coal is no longer “king.” It’s also clear, though, as our associate editor, Rebecca Seum, explains succinctly in her story, that it’s still an essential element of a reliable power generation s

The use of coal as a fuel source for electricity production has been on the decline because of increasing environmental requirements and the decreased costs for alternatives like natural gas and renewable generation sources. Concerns about the level of carbon dioxide emissions from coal generation further limit its future use, but the practicality and, yes, the reliability, of coal are undeniable. The truth of the matter is that fossil fuels, including coal, play an essential role in keeping the nation’s lights on.

Electric vehicle

Plugged in to driving

Ready or not, we are quickly moving into a new era of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs). EVs first hit the U.S. market in 2010; today there are more than 1.5 million of them on U.S. roads, and that number is expected to keep growing, with millions more plug-in vehicles put in service in the next five years. The attraction of EVs include clean, quiet, high-performance operation, coupled with lower operating costs. EVs also offer the potential for major reductions in emissions from autos and trucks over the coming decades. 

OEC anniversary logo

80 years and counting

Ohio Cooperative Living readers know that Ohio’s 24 electric cooperatives are served by a Columbus-based organization known as Ohio’s Electric Cooperatives. OEC is composed of Buckeye Power, the wholesale power supplier for the state’s distribution cooperatives (including your local co-op), and Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives (OREC), the statewide trade and service association that works on behalf of the local co-op. While Buckeye Power was formed in 1959, this year marks OREC’s 80th anniversary. 

Lineworker

Lines of appreciation

April 12 is Lineworker Appreciation Day, when we take time to honor the bravery and dedication of the people who do the dangerous work of keeping our lights on every day.

It’s easy to take the luxury and convenience of electricity for granted. It’s invisible and so reliably available that we seldom give it a second thought. Even after the devastation of those southern Ohio ice storms, we took comfort in knowing that once our workers got the lines restored, those lights would go right back on, thanks to a reliable source of electricity.