Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How the Farm Bill Affects Co-ops | Electric Co-op Today

By Steven Johnson | ECT Staff WriterPublished: February 4th, 2014

But several sections in the 959-page document are important to co-ops, particularly a change that opens up the possibility of Rural Utilities Service lending for baseload projects for the first time since 2005.

The Department of Agriculture had ceased funding for baseload, saying it was concerned about the risks associated with construction of new power plants. The new legislation allows RUS borrowers to pay an upfront supplemental risk premium in connection with loans for coal, nuclear or natural gas baseload facilities.

Emerson said that represents an additional option for co-ops to meet the needs of their members.

“This meaningful improvement to the RUS electric loan program will allow co-ops to continue investing in the distribution, transmission, service and generation of safe, reliable and affordable electric power,” she said.

The bill authorizes $75 million for the Rural Energy Savings Program, which relies on co-ops to improve energy efficiency and create jobs in rural America.

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