A report by CU Master of the Environment Graduates, Kayla Carey and Nathan Stottler
Kayla Carey and Nathan Stottler are recent graduates of CU’s Master of the Environment program specializing in Environmental Policy. They took Professor Sharon Jacob’s Energy Law and Regulation class this past spring and have prepared their capstone project, Cooperatives at a Crossroads: Identifying the Opportunities and Challenges of Clean Energy in Electric Cooperatives. The report analyzes the Generation & Transmission electricity cooperative model, examines the challenges and opportunities of cooperative exits, and investigates the role of cooperatives in the clean energy transition. The GWC is happy to help them meet their capstone requirements by sharing their work and helping them seek the input of interested parties.
The electricity sector will require a systemwide approach to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets and avoid the worst possible consequences of climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), at least 80% of the world’s electricity must be generated from low-carbon sources by the year 2050. To meet this target, electric utilities across the world must make and meet aggressive decarbonization commitments.
Rural areas need to commit to decarbonization to mitigate the most severe impacts of climate change.Rural communities, and their economies, are heavily reliant on natural resources, and are particularly vulnerable to the volatile ecological impacts of intensified heat, drought, flood, and wildfire. Yet these communities have often been overlooked as major players in the battle against climate change, despite being positioned to make a significant impact.
The purpose of our research is to identify pathways to accelerate the clean energy transition in rural America.Rural residents typically have more costly and carbon intensive energy mixes compared to urban and suburban customers. This report identifies the challenges that are preventing cooperatives (co-ops) from joining the clean energy transition, as well as the opportunities that exist for co-ops to overcome those challenges and achieve a future of clean, affordable electricity.
View the full report here: