Recent reports from the U.S. Senate and United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) outlines just how urgent infrastructure investments are and the dire consequences of not making these investments. Congress MUST act to address climate change in all facets of the energy sector.
One of the most important sectors in need of energy reform are Rural Electric Cooperatives (REC's) which provide electricity to 42 million people across 56% of the nation's land mass REC's account for one fifth of all carbon pollution in the US power sector and nine of the thirteen most carbon intensive utilities. For rural areas, investments in energy transition are long overdue and will require major overhauls of critical infrastructure.
Congress must prioritize a rural energy transition in the budget reconciliation. While the Biden Administration proposed $10 billion in investment through rural electric cooperatives in the American Jobs Plan, its estimate of the need falls short. In reality, an investment of of up to $10B is required to make a reasonable down payment on rural energy transition.
With electric cooperatives serving 90% of counties federally-recognized for persistent poverty, it is essential that the path to a lower carbon future does not drive electric cooperatives and the communities who own them further into debt. The Rural Power Coalition estimates the need for equitable investment in the rural electric system at $100 billion — the amount of debt currently carried by electric cooperatives that rely on fossil fuels. That is why Congress must commit to a least a $10 billion dollar down payment for energy efficiency upgrades and clean energy to begin the energy transition in rural communities.
Congress must fund an equitable and fair energy transition to improve the lives of the millions of rural Americans served by electric cooperatives. Join the Rural Power Coalition by calling on your members of Congress to prioritize rural energy transition in the budget reconciliation!