Last week, Roanoke Cooperative staff and board members joined more than 150 representatives from all 26 of North Carolina’s electric cooperatives to convene in Raleigh to meet with legislators and discuss policy issues important to electric co-ops, their members and their communities. More than 100 state senators and representatives participated in the event.
“Our annual Rally in Raleigh shines a light on the priorities of electric cooperative members,” said Paul Mott, government affairs specialist for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “Cooperatives are led by the people that we serve, and we engage with legislative leaders and local officials to share the perspectives of our members and updates about the cooperatives’ work to power a Brighter Future in our state.”
Co–op leaders demonstrated the cooperatives’ voluntary pursuit of innovative energy solutions by sharing examples of innovation that address member and community needs for enhanced reliability and access to new energy opportunities. Examples included microgrids, energy storage projects, smart thermostat programs and cooperative capabilities for actively managing these distributed energy resources. Co-op leaders also stressed that any future energy policy should support ongoing efforts to innovate on behalf of co-op members and maintain the reliability, affordability and sustainability of the electric grid.
Cooperative participants also discussed recent achievements in rural economic development, including providing $83 million in grants and loans to support more than 100 projects statewide, leading to $1 billion in capital investments and more than 6,000 new jobs. These achievements were paired with a request for legislators to provide additional support for programs that assist counties in advancing smaller economic development sites toward market-readiness.
“This event provides a valuable opportunity to meet with legislators to discuss achievements made by electric co-ops and the communities they serve, as well as to champion issues important to rural North Carolina,” Mott said. “These conversations are ongoing, and will continue next month when leaders from North Carolina’s electric co-ops meeting with elected officials in Washington, D.C.”