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Controlling carbon, controlling costs for co-ops

A geologist examines cuttings from bedrock drilling near Associated Electric's Thomas Hill Energy Center.
As part of a three-year project to determine the feasibility of storing carbon dioxide in a saline aquifer in Missouri, a Missouri Department of Natural Resources geologist examines cuttings from bedrock drilling near Associated Electric's Thomas Hill Energy Center.

Associated Electric Cooperative works proactively to manage its carbon footprint. The cooperative has diversified its generating mix, voluntarily adding low-emissions natural gas plants, carbon-free wind power and energy efficiency to its coal, gas and hydropower resources.

The cooperative has invested in environmental controls and researched lower-cost technologies to improve air quality and keep electricity affordable and reliable.

As additional regulations are proposed, including carbon regulations, the costs of producing electricity will increase. To help find affordable solutions, Associated Electric voluntarily partnered with other Missouri utilities, state agencies and the U.S. Department of Energy to test geologic formations in Missouri for storing carbon. This would be a lower cost alternative for Missouri utilities than regional storage facilities.

The goals of the research project were to advance the body of knowledge about carbon storage; test specific Missouri geologic formations; and potentially provide a local solution to a global issue.

Coal-based energy supplies the bulk of Missouri's electric generation, and keeping it in the mix of resources for Missourians helps keep electricity affordable and reliable.

Environmental costs pressure co-op member rates

Associated Electric has spent more than $1 billion since 1994 to improve air quality. We have invested in environmental controls and taken innovative, proactive steps to conduct research that will enable us to comply with environmental regulations at the lowest cost possible. We are well-positioned to comply with changing regulations and committed to be in full compliance with local, state and federal environmental regulations.

Despite Associated Electric's excellent environmental record and innovative use of technology to control emissions at a lower cost, more mandates from the Environmental Protection Agency on air emissions, water quality and coal ash storage and handling threaten to significantly increase the cost of producing electricity.

Uncertainty on carbon reductions makes compliance and costs unpredictable, especially as the EPA has issued regulations that are being challenged in the courts.

We will continue to comment and work to make compliance with environmental regulations affordable for members. That’s the reason members continue to be involved in the ongoing political debate over energy issues and environmental regulations.


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