WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced - in partnership with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and Cooperative Research Network (CRN) - its selection of the Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AECI), of Springfield, Missouri, for the 2006 Wind Cooperative of the Year Award. The Award recognizes AECI for leadership, demonstrated success, and innovation in its wind power program. In collaboration with the wind industry, DOE aims to develop clean, domestic, and advanced wind energy technologies that can compete with conventional forms of electricity.
"In 2005, the United States installed more new wind energy capacity than any other country in the world, and we are eager to see wind become a more integral part of our nation's energy mix," DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Andy Karsner said. "We applaud Associated Electric Cooperative for its commitment to wind power development, and for building upon President Bush's commitment to dramatically increase the use of this clean and abundant source of energy."
AECI was the first to bring utility-scale wind power to Missouri, where most of its members live and work. The cooperative has committed to 156 megawatts (MW) of wind power from three different projects in northwest Missouri. The first of the three 50-MW wind projects, Bluegrass Ridge Wind Farm, is under construction in King City, MO. The second, Cow Branch Wind Project, is located in Rock Port; MO. and; the third, Conception Wind Project, is located in Conception, MO. AECI serves six generation and transmission cooperatives and 51 electric distribution cooperatives in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Iowa. All three projects are expected to be operational by the end of this year.
"Associated Electric Cooperative is very pleased to play a part in bringing the first wind farms online in Missouri, and we are honored that DOE and NRECA are recognizing our efforts," said Hartner. "We share our success with John Deere Wind Energy and the developer, Wind Capital Group and its president, Tom Carnahan. Their commitment is helping AECI meet our members' needs with a reasonably priced, clean, and renewable resource."
The Wind Cooperative of the Year Award was presented at NRECA's TechAdvantage 2007 Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. AECI Director of Member Services and Corporate Communications Keith Hartner accepted the award. AECI was one of six rural, member-owned utilities nominated this year for the award.
In addition to the AECI award, Alaska Village Electric Cooperative (AVEC) was also recognized for its unique applications of wind turbines. AVEC presently has 990 Kilowatt (kW) of installed generating capacity, with an additional 700 kW planned for installation over the next two years. It consists of 52 individual generating facilities that serve the same number of small, native villages in rural western Alaska.
DOE's Wind Powering America program aims to help the nation achieve targeted regional economic development, enhance power generation options, protect the environment, and help increase our energy security. Because the United States installed more new wind energy than any other nation in the world in 2005, the new capacity, totaling 2,431 MW, was worth more than $3 billion in generating equipment and; it brought the total national wind energy capacity to 9,149 MW. That's enough electricity to power 2.3 million average American households. In 2006, an additional 2,454 MW were installed, bringing the nation's total installed capacity to 11,603 MW. For more information on Wind Powering America visit: http://www.eere.energy.gov/windandhydro/windpoweringamerica/.
NRECA represents the nation's more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide electric service to more than 37 million people in 47 states. CRN is a research program dedicated to solving the business challenges of electric cooperatives through the use of technology applications.
NRECA and CRN cosponsor the Wind Cooperative of the Year Awards program with DOE's Wind Powering America program. Previous awardees include Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative, Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (Oklahoma), Holy Cross Energy (Colorado), Basin Electric Power Cooperative (North Dakota) and Great River Energy (Minnesota).
Julie Ruggiero, (202) 586-4940