Reader Opinion: Clean energy
Rural electric co-ops need to get on board with clean energy and the job growth it promotes. Co-ops are the energy sector in Minnesota that is frustrating clean energy job growth by implementing rapidly increasing distribution charges unrelated t...
Rural electric co-ops need to get on board with clean energy and the job growth it promotes. Co-ops are the energy sector in Minnesota that is frustrating clean energy job growth by implementing rapidly increasing distribution charges unrelated to usage for their rural, consumer customers. These charges are particularly burdensome for customers who have taken conservation seriously to reduce their electrical usage or who have added small solar PV or wind systems, only to find that their bills may not go down at all, and even may increase, because of increases in distribution charges. These ever increasing charges hurt the low income customers or the low usage customers, forcing them to pay as much for access to electrical power as those who use far more electricity.
Co-ops also engineered a change in state law in 2015 that allows them to add even higher fixed charges for their customers who have small solar PV or wind systems at their farms or homes. Some co-ops have added charges so high that they have made it cost prohibitive for their customers to add small solar PV or wind systems.
Co-ops in raising distribution charges and in adding extra charges for their small solar PV or wind system customers also frustrate a key Minnesota policy in promoting conservation and clean energy; in achieving the clean energy benefits of cleaner water, soil and air; in improving the health of our communities; and in promoting rural job growth.
Our electrical generation and distribution infrastructure is facing a clean energy paradigm shift, a shift which has the capacity to greatly increase both jobs and the health of all of us. Co-ops need to get on board in support of this shift and not continue to adopt rate policies that prevent job growth and frustrate Clean Energy for the health benefit of our rural communities.