Georgia Magazine - May 2017 - 14

NEWS FROM GEORGIA'S ELECTRIC CO-OPS COMPILED BY AMY SCHNEIDER

Chastain represents nation's co-ops at D.C. hearing

DENNY GAINER

D

ennis Chastain, CEO of Tucker-based Georgia Electric
Membership Corp. (EMC), spoke on behalf of the nation's electric cooperatives at a hearing by the U.S.
House of Representatives Agriculture Subcommittee on
Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit in Washington,
D.C., on March 8.
The subcommittee held the hearing to review rural
development and energy programs in the 2014 Farm Bill.
Chastain was asked to address the subcommittee by the
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA),
the Arlington, Va.-based organization that represents the
nation's EMCs.
In his testimony, Chastain highlighted the value of the
Rural Utilities Service (RUS) program and other programs
offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of
Rural Development, which provides essential assistance
to rural America.
The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorizes and/or amends rural development loan and grant programs and authorizes
several new provisions, including rural infrastructure, economic development, and broadband and telecommunications development.
"The Farm Bill is essential for electric cooperatives,
for Georgia and for the nation," Chastain told the House
panel. "Co-ops have been supporting rural America for
almost 80 years, and in many ways that job is more important now than it ever has been."
Chastain noted that rural areas still grow most of the
food, generate most of the power and manufacture most
of the goods the country consumes.
"When rural areas suffer, electric cooperatives suffer,
and, more importantly, the country as a whole suffers,"
he said.
Testimony by Chastain and others will help lay the

Dennis Chastain, CEO of Georgia Electric Membership Corp. (EMC)
in Tucker, testifies at a March 8 hearing of the House Agriculture
Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit in
Washington, D.C.

groundwork before the subcommittee begins crafting the
2018 Farm Bill to improve on current initiatives and grow
more opportunities for rural communities nationwide.
"Unfortunately, whether it's infrastructure or jobs or
access to health care, it seems too often rural America
gets the short end of the stick," Chastain said. "The Farm
Bill is important legislation that helps to address some of
those disparities."
The subcommittee is chaired by Georgia's 8th District
U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, and the ranking member is Georgia's 13th District U.S. Rep. David Scott.
To watch a video of the hearing, go to bit.ly/march
8hearing. Chastain's testimony begins at the 24:22 mark.
-Terri Statham

Five EMCs get solar power from new project

F

ive Georgia electric membership
cooperatives (EMCs) are getting
solar power from a 146-megawatt, utility-scale solar project that
began operating late last year.
The Sandhills Solar Facility on
a 911-acre site outside of Butler in
Taylor County is owned by Southern
Power, a subsidiary of the Southern Co.
It comprises about 1.6 million
photovoltaic solar modules and is
the largest solar facility operating
east of the Mississippi River.

14

Under 25-year purchase agreements, it provides 111 megawatts of
solar power to Cobb EMC in Marietta; 15 megawatts each to Flint Energies in Reynolds and Sawnee EMC
in Cumming; and 1 megawatt each
to Irwin EMC in Ocilla and Middle
Georgia EMC in Vienna.
"We're always looking for ways to
diversify our generation mix and expand our renewable portfolio while
keeping costs as low as possible for
our members," says Chip Nelson,
president and CEO of Cobb EMC.
More online at www.georgiamagazine.org

Offering solar power satisfies an
increasing interest in renewable energy among co-op members, says
Jimmy Autry, Flint Energies senior
vice president.
"We believe that our members
want their cooperative to be an
aggressive user of solar power resources," Autry says. "And most members are not able to take advantage
of rooftop solar ... So we make solar
an important part of the power-generation mix for all of our members
to use."
GEORGIA MAGAZINE


http://www.bit.ly/march8hearing http://www.bit.ly/march8hearing http://www.georgiamagazine.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - May 2017

Contents
Georgia Magazine - May 2017 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - May 2017 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - May 2017 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - May 2017 - 3
Georgia Magazine - May 2017 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - May 2017 - 5
Georgia Magazine - May 2017 - 6
Georgia Magazine - May 2017 - 7
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Georgia Magazine - May 2017 - 25A
Georgia Magazine - May 2017 - 25B
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Georgia Magazine - May 2017 - 38A
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Georgia Magazine - May 2017 - Cover3
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