Most of us only think about electricity three times per month. The first is when we get our bill, the second is when we pay our bill, and the third time is when we flip the light switch, and the lights don’t come on. It would be the rare person who thinks about how the electricity they use is produced since for most of us our concern is: Will it be there when I need it? And can I afford it?
The reliability, affordability, and accessibility of the power we use every day are key issues we need to consider. Luckily, we generally do not worry about these issues because our electric cooperative provides all three for us with ease.
There has been a debate raging in our country on climate change. Regardless of where you stand, the reality for your electric cooperative is we have to react and respond to the regulatory direction our government and policymakers set for us. Through last November’s elections, the country spoke on which direction they want this policy to proceed. I think it is crucial for us to share with you what that potentially means for the reliability, affordability, and access to electricity for you. So, for the next four or five months, I will attempt to help our members understand what these changes may mean for you and your family.
Most readers are familiar with the Green New Deal because it was the most talked-about climate initiative in recent history. I will make every effort to help you understand the implications of this plan, as well as the Biden Administration’s current climate plan, without editorializing or having any bias, and I will work very hard just to stick to the facts. No matter which side you are on in the climate debate, the leaders of your electric cooperative have to make decisions based on the policies set by our governmental institutions and leaders.
The new administration has an ambitious power sector plan to generate clean, American-made electricity and achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035. The president’s climate action pledge includes an ambitious $2 trillion economic plan that would accelerate a clean-energy transition, cut carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 2035, and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. We will have to reach a consensus on what that means to have carbon-pollution-free power by 2035 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 for all sectors of the economy. I don’t know if we know that the answer has been agreed to by our government and the electric industry. A major Princeton University-led analysis gives a range of economically beneficial and technologically feasible options for reaching “net-zero” U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Over the next few months, we will explore them. We will also talk about other terms that are not common for the regular reader but are analyzed every day at your electric cooperative. Concepts like baseload power, intermittent power, stranded assets, fuel sources, net-zero, carbon-free, and the like will be explored through this column in the coming months.
I know we have the ingenuity in America to reach any goal we decide to achieve. Still, I think it is equally important to talk with you about how those goals may affect the reliability, affordability, and accessibility of the electricity you use every day.