By Joe Smyth | @joesmyth
Minnesota’s Attorney General thinks utility ratepayers should not be forced to fund the Lignite Energy Council, a coal industry group that has opposed clean energy policies in Minnesota and supported policies that subsidize the coal industry in North Dakota and nationally.
The Minnesota Attorney General (AG)’s office submitted testimony to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission last month objecting to Otter Tail Power’s efforts to charge its ratepayers for dues it pays to the Lignite Energy Council. The AG’s office explained that the Lignite Energy Council does not benefit electric ratepayers in Minnesota, and is instead focused on promoting North Dakota’s coal industry.
There are two issues with the LEC [Lignite Energy Council] dues. The first is that LEC is an organization that supports North Dakota’s $18 billion lignite industry and does not provide any direct benefits to Minnesota electric ratepayers. The second is that LEC engages heavily in public affairs and legislative activities in North Dakota, Minnesota, and with the US Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to advocate for the lignite industry and coal based electricity. LEC’s activities are in direct opposition to Minnesota’s carbon-reduction goals and renewable energy standards.
By Joe Smyth | email@example.com | @joesmyth
The Biden administration, rural advocacy and environmental groups, and one of the largest cooperative power suppliers in the country are discussing proposals that could help electric cooperatives transition from coal to clean energy and avoid rate increases in rural America.
But the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), the national trade association for electric cooperatives, has tried to stop its member utilities from working with environmental groups on the proposal, instead criticizing President Biden’s goal of decarbonizing the power sector by 2035. And although the coal debt relief proposal is directly targeted to benefit NRECA’s member utilities, the trade association made no mention of it in its response to the American Jobs Plan, nor in an article on its website titled “Biden’s Infrastructure Plan: What Co-ops Need to Know.”
A spokesperson for NRECA said: “There are not yet any details from the administration on this proposal so we have taken no position on it.” But according to the CEO of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the White House is developing those details right now, with major implications for generation and transmission associations, electric cooperatives, and electric ratepayers across the country.
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Colorado state legislators urge Public Utilities Commission to determine Tri-State exit charge
United Power says Tri-State policies are turning away large customers
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United Power seeks solutions to "increasingly outmoded G&T business models"
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Governor-elect Jared Polis says moving Colorado toward more renewable energy will be a top priority
Electric cooperative officials discuss cheap renewable energy and an “eroding monopoly”
Delta Montrose Electric members vote for new financing options, supporting a potential buyout of Tri-State contract
Poudre Valley Electric requests Tri-State policy changes and fuel mix study
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Moody’s report shows Tri-State’s coal plants are more expensive than new renewable energy
Tri-State’s limits on local energy development are a growing problem for co-op members
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