Northland Connection June 2024


Managers Report 2024

New EPA Power Plant Rules Threaten Grid Reliability

Dave Deihl PCEC General Manager And CEOOne of the many values of our cooperative is transparency. I believe in being as open and honest with our consumer-members as possible. You deserve the best service possible and that includes being informed about not only what’s happening inside our cooperative, but issues impacting us from the outside as well.

In April, I joined rural cooperative leaders from around the country to meet with congressional leaders in Washington D.C. to advocate on behalf of our cooperative members. Reliability has come under threat as politicians look to eliminate always available base-load power generation created by fossil fuels at a time when our country faces increasing power demand.

As I have previously shared with you, renewable power sources such as wind and solar are great options to diversify generation, however, they are not always available. If the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing, they simply cannot be relied upon during times of peak demand. Unfortunately, we currently don’t have any viable alternatives to fossil fuels besides nuclear energy to deliver power on demand.

Our cooperative’s generation has been served by Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AECI) since the 1960’s. And since then, we have relied on coal plants as part of our energy mix. Year after year and peak after peak, coal power has proven extremely reliable and affordable in serving our members. Associated’s two coal plants have been upgraded many times over the years at great expense to meet every modern efficiency and environmental regulation. In 2023, coal made up 34% of generation to meet member load.

Just recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released four major new regulations for the electric industry, including a rule to cut emissions from power plants. This sweeping move has again aggravated reliability concerns for electric cooperatives and other utilities nationwide.

The power plant rule constrains existing coal and new natural gas plants by requiring them to install carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology that is not yet reliable or commercially available. Under the new rule, existing coal-fired power plants that plan to operate past the start of 2039 must install CCS to capture 90% of emissions by 2032. The rule also requires new natural gas plants that operate more than 40% of the time to install CCS and capture 90% of their carbon emissions by 2032. These standards, and their reliance on unproven CCS technology, will create instability in electric reliability.

The power plant rule would likely force the early closure of our coal plants that are available 24/7 and will also impede the construction of new natural gas plants. The timing of these sweeping new rules is particularly troubling as electric utilities face a surge in demand for electricity from factors like transportation electrification and the rapid expansion of data centers to support artificial intelligence, e-commerce and cryptocurrency.

We understand the need to keep the lights on at a cost local families and businesses can afford. Clean energy technologies must be balanced with generation sources that are always available to ensure a reliable electric grid. Platte-Clay serves over 26,500 meters and electric cooperatives around the country deliver power to 42 million Americans. Our top priority is to meet our members’ energy needs, and we must have reliable electricity available to do that.

The Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives has put together an advocacy website at 4energyreliability.com that provides you with the opportunity to easily send a letter to your Missouri legislative leaders in D.C. I encourage you to let them know that you share our concerns about the future availability of reliable, affordable power in Missouri.

Moving away from proven generation is ultimately an unnecessary risk. Imposing such a short timeline on an already heavily regulated industry will do nothing but wreak havoc on our ability to serve rural electric members. It currently takes around a decade just to plan, build and bring online new generation facilities. If viable, affordable alternatives existed, we would be happy to consider them. But this is not the case. We need more time, transmission and technology in order to responsibly shift from fossil fuel generation.

AECI is already working to increase generation to meet growing member demand with new natural gas peaking plants. One of which will be located in our service area in Turney. We cannot afford to unnecessarily lose existing coal generation, which makes up such an important part of our energy mix. Additionally, members don’t deserve to have to take on additional costs to pay for unproven new generation infrastructure.

There are already legal challenges taking place across the country against the new rules. Together, we can help our elected officials understand this is not the time for politics, and instead, time to work together to find new reliable solutions to guarantee the future reliability of our electric grid.

Dave Deihl Signature

Platte-Clay Moments June 2024


In The News

PCEC Lineman To Help Electrify Guatemalan Village

PCEC Lineman To Help Electrify Guatemalan Village
In 2020, the Missouri Electric Cooperative International Program helped bring electricity to Trapichitos, Guatamala. PCEC Journeyman Lineman Jacob Rose was recently seleccted as part of the Missouri cooperative team of linemen headed to electrify Viucalvitz, Guatemala, later this year.

A Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative lineman will help bring electricity to a remote Guatemalan village this summer. Jacob Rose, a journeyman lineman at Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative, is one of eight volunteer linemen who will leave the United States on July 31, bound for Viucalvitz, Guatemala. Here he will build power lines connecting the village to a small hydroelectric project that will provide the village with electricity for the first time.

The project is the latest for the Missouri Electric Cooperative International Program, which has brought the benefits of electricity to previously unserved communities through group projects in parts of Bolivia and Guatemala. This time the electric cooperative linemen will be challenged with rugged mountainous terrain at elevations between 7,500 and 8,000 feet.

Viucalvitz is located in Quiche, a department in the northwest part of Guatemala. It is close to the last electrification project for Missouri’s International Program, which saw electricity turned on for residents of Trapichitos in 2020. The new lines will connect the two villages, providing power for approximately 130 families and businesses, along with a school and a medical clinic.

The project will be split into two parts, with Team 1 running wire to 45 poles, 30 of which can only be accessed on foot because of the steep inclines and dense vegetation across the mountainside. They will also hang streetlights and wire 25-30 homes.

Team 2, expected to travel in December, will encounter the same mountainous terrain but will be able to access the poles from a road in the more populated part of the village. They will be running wire to 40 poles, hanging more streetlights and wiring 55-60 homes.

Plans call for each house to have one light and one or two plug-ins for their appliances. During the trip the men will stay in the village school, without electricity until the power lines are completed.

The new power lines will be energized from a small hydroelectric project with a capacity of 90 kilowatts and a diesel generator that can produce 60 kilowatts. Each phase is expected to take about 2-1/2 weeks and will require a total of 12 linemen.

The project is coordinated by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association International Program. NRECA International can trace its roots to 1962 when it signed an agreement with U.S. Aid for International Development to use the rural electrification program model to bring electricity to unserved parts of the globe. NRECA International has since brought electricity to more than 160 million people in 44 developing countries.

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New Office Hours Begin In June

New PCEC Business HoursPlatte-Clay offices in Kearney and Platte City will be open earlier beginning June 1. The new hours of operation for our member service representatives will be 7:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Our goal is always to better serve our members, and leadership has closely analyzed call volume and foot traffic to reach to this decision.

PCEC will continue to offer three payment dropboxes. These are located at our Kearney and Platte City offices and at the MFA Oil fuel station in Platte City.

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The Northland Connection is published monthly by Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative, Inc., 1000 W. 92 Highway, Kearney, MO 64060. Postmaster: Please send address changes to: Northland Connection, PO Box 100, Kearney, MO 64060 or mail@pcec.coop.

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