WECA Receives Grants | Olson New Price Electric CEO | Rep. Ron Kind Retiring | More Climate Change Action Needed says IPCC Report | EVs Featured at Summit | Biden Pushes for Tougher Fuel Standards, Higher EV Sales | Demand for Electricity Rebounds | In Memory: Edward Boxrucker


WECA receives Youth Program Grants

Amanda Seger, regional vice president of the National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation (CFC), made a stop in Madison recently to present WECA President and CEO Steve Freese with a check to help fund WECA youth programs. WECA was awarded two grants totaling $22,000 from CFC and National Cooperative Services Corporation.


Jeff Olson New Head of Price Electric

Price Electric Cooperative’s Board of Directors selected Jeff Olson as the organization’s new president and chief executive officer (CEO). He starts this month and replaces retired CEO Bill Caynor.

Olson comes to Price Electric from Pierce Pepin Cooperative Services, where he began his career in 1990 and most recently served as vice president of engineering & operational technology.

Olson has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering technology from University of Wisconsin–River Falls and master’s degree in computer information systems from University of Phoenix. He completed NRECA’s Management Internship Program (MIP) in 2004.

Olson has served on many state, regional, and national committees and task forces including Dairyland Power Cooperative’s Operations & Technology Advisory Committee, and the Wisconsin’s Rural Energy Management Council.

Ron Kind Announces Retirement from Congress

Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind (D-3rd District), 58, has announced he will not be seeking re-election to Congress next year after serving nearly 25 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. Kind’s district covers much of southwestern Wisconsin and he has been an advocate for electric cooperatives during his time in office, offering support on key issues.

Kind was awarded NRECA’s 2015 Distinguished Service Award following a nomination by WECA. WECA also presented him with the Champion of Electric Cooperatives Award last fall for his work on behalf of electric cooperatives.

Kind is the fourth Democratic representative from a swing district to announce they are not running for re-election.

IPCC Report Urges More Action on Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report on the state of global climate change. The Working Group I report, Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis, says we are experiencing unprecedented changes in climate, some of which are irreversible.

In the report, IPCC has dialed back the probability of some of the more extreme predicted changes in temperature from previous reports but maintains that the chance of reaching a global warming level of 1.5°C is likely unless there are immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the report, emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are responsible for approximately 1.1°C of warming since 1850–1900, and over the next 20 years, global temperature is expected to reach or exceed 1.5°C of warming. The report says that even with reductions in emissions, it could take 20–30 years for global temperatures to stabilize.

Electric Vehicles Featured at Summit

About 75 people gathered together in-person in Eau Claire last month for comprehensive discussions on emerging energy issues at the Energy Issues Summit, including the transition to cleaner energy, electric vehicles, and reliability in the changing environment.

Among the many speakers were representatives from CoBank, General Motors, and Power System Engineering who talked about challenges and predictions related to the anticipated transition to electric vehicles from range anxiety and price, to technology, to residential charging and system constraints.

Biden Announces Tougher Fuel Standards, Pushes EV Sales

President Joe Biden has announced he will seek tougher fuel-efficiency standards for automakers in an effort to meet his goal of cutting U.S. emissions in half by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. The fleet standard was set at an average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 under the Obama administration, but cut to 40 mpg under Trump. Biden said he will seek stricter standards but did not release specifics. The higher fuel-efficiency standard is a driver for the production and sales of more electric vehicles, which some automakers tentatively committed to.

Electricity Demand Rebounds

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), electricity use was up 5.5 percent in the second quarter of 2021, compared to the second quarter of 2020. The demand for the last quarter exceeded the five-year average across most of the country, due to higher-than-average temperatures and the economic recovery, according to analysts.

During the pandemic, electricity consumption dropped in the industrial and commercial sectors, and rose in the residential sector. Commercial and industrial loads decreased by 6.2 percent and 8.2 percent respectively from 2019 to 2020. EIA is projecting that while demand in this sector is fueling the rebound, sales will continue to fall short of pre-pandemic levels this year and next year.

In Memory: Edward Boxrucker

Former Taylor Electric Cooperative General Manager Edward Boxrucker, 95, passed away Friday, July 16, 2021, at Stoney River Assisted Living Facility in Marshfield.

Boxrucker started his cooperative career at Taylor Electric in 1957, and was promoted to general manager in 1979, where he served until his retirement in 1992.