In recent years, our friends at Renew Missouri have been actively advocating for rural electric cooperatives (RECs) to transition from coal-fired power plants burdened with debt, towards more economic and environmentally friendly local energy sources. RECs can now take advantage of new federal programs to do this without undue financial burden to themselves or us member-owners.

We are very fortunate that Renew Missouri is willing to come to Sac Osage territory to explain how the single largest investment in rural electrification since the 1936 Rural Electrification Act — $11 billion in grant and loan opportunities—can help our rural communities access clean, reliable, affordable electricity.

Thursday, Nov. 9, starting at 5:30 p.m. in El Dorado Springs, Philip Fracica, Renew Missouri Director of Programs, will discuss these new programs and explore opportunities for Sac-Osage Electric Co-op member-owners to participate in the clean energy transition, including already available and upcoming funding opportunities for individual member-owners to access tax credits for clean energy projects and energy efficiency rebates.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 provides $1 billion in forgivable loans for renewable energy projects in rural communities and $9.7 billion for generation and transmission electric co-ops to transition to clean energy. It gives electric co-ops broad flexibility to make upgrades to their infrastructure and offers individual co-ops up to $970 million to make upgrades. Missouri’s co-ops can use these funds to replace coal-fired power plants with renewable energy, battery storage, and improved infrastructure. These investments can keep member-owners’ energy bills manageable and ensure that we ratepayers don’t bear the brunt of transitioning to clean energy.

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) funds energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities for farms, ranches, and small businesses across the country.

The Rural Energy Savings Program provides funding for rural utilities and other companies that offer energy efficiency loans to customers for implementing cost-effective energy-saving projects.

“Right now, Missouri has the second-dirtiest rural electric cooperative system in the country behind Texas, both coal reliant,” reported James Owen, Executive Director of Renew Missouri. We rural Missourians have much to gain when our RECs choose to participate in this single largest investment in rural electrification since the 1936 Rural Electrification Act.

Bring your friends and family to this free public One Night Only Opportunity, Thursday, Nov. 9, 5:30 p.m., at the Lions Club, 1168 S. Main St., El Dorado Springs. Free food catered by the Mexican Restaurant and Cantina. RSVP at https://www.tickettailor.com/events/renewmissouri/1035663.

Cheryl Y. Marcum

Sac Osage Electric Co-op member-owner

United Methodist EarthKeeper