Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 29

planned maintenance these plants undergo during the
to maintain system integrity. Had this been necessary, it
spring and fall when demand for electricity is lower.
would be done through a temporary, controlled service
There's also ongoing planned upgrades of transmission
interruption plan at each co-op.
resources by the state's six transmission cooperatives.
	 Fortunately, service interruptions did not happen. The
	 Going into the cold winter months, each power plant
load on its power plants leveled off with minutes to spare
has a checklist of required maintenance that is performed.
and the lights - and heat - stayed on. Pulling off this
When forecasts for the February cold snap came in, emHerculean effort took a lot of coordination.
ployees went through the checklists again as a precaution.
	 " Our power generation, transmission and distribution
" In the military it's said that every battle is won before it is
tiers of the cooperative system all pulled together to avoid
fought, " says United Electric Cooperative CEO Jim Bagley.
service interruptions, " says David Tudor, CEO of Associ " The planning by these entities and how they executed
ated Electric Cooperative. " Planned service interruptions
those plans is what got us through this. "
are coordinated and part of the energy emergency plan,
	 To ensure the lifesaving electricity continued to flow,
but ultimately, we didn't need them. The combined efforts
Associated employees stood guard at its Essex peaking
of Associated's work to keep power flowing, the transmisplant to shovel heavy snow away from air intakes. Its team
sion cooperatives' integrated transmission system and the
worked around-the-clock at the power plants to keep midistribution cooperatives' conservation appeals showcased
nor issues from becoming major ones.
the best of our cooperative system. "
At the peaking plant in
	 What kept the electric
Holden the fuel source was
co-op grid functioning
switched from natural gas
during this crisis? There
to fuel oil to reduce costs
were many reasons,
when gas prices skyrockincluding:
eted. A huge effort took
	 * Long-range planplace to keep its tanks full,
ning by the Associated
with 1.3 million gallons of
board - which includes
oil unloaded by 181 tanker
end users of its power
trucks during the storm.
- focuses on reliability
Transmission linemen
and affordability.
and substation personnel
	 * Associated used a
at M&A and KAMO elecbalanced mix of coal and
tric power cooperatives
natural gas base-load
kept crews on hand at the
plants, along with gasswitchyards for the vital
powered peaking units,
New Madrid and Chouteau
hydroelectric dams and
power plants to ensure
wind farms to meet the
photo courtesy Associated Electric Cooperative
there were no issues with
demand. While contractgetting power out of the
ed wind farms produced
Outside operators Darnell Furlow, left, and Kyle Redden, right, clear ice from
plants and onto the grid.
little power during the
the Dell Power Plant's cooling tower. The extra effort by Associated Electric
Distribution co-op
weather event due to icCooperative's employees played a huge role in preventing the blackouts
linemen had their trucks
ing, heavy snow and lack other utilities experienced.
loaded with materials and
of wind, the coal and
were quick to repair the isolated outages that popped up
natural gas plants performed well.
on their systems.
	 * The more than 10,000 miles of high-voltage transmisMeanwhile officials at Associated Electric and neighborsion lines owned by Missouri's electric cooperatives is a
ing electric utilities kept the lines of communication open
huge plus in getting power from the plants to end users.
to help each other serve those depending on their electric	 * After the 2018 polar vortex, Associated's gas units
ity. Midnight phone calls helped squeeze every kilowatt
were upgraded to handle extremely low temperatures.
out of the power plants and ensured it got to where it was
	 * The cooperative grid includes numerous interconnecneeded the most.
tions with other utilities, which allowed energy to flow to
	 " At the end of the day, all of the state's utilities worked
and from them during the event.
together to keep everyone's power on, " says Caleb Jones,
	 Typically, power plants are taken offline as needed to
CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.
perform maintenance. That wasn't an option during that
" There was a lot of concern there for the well-being of evcold week in February. " The power plants were running at
eryone, no matter who supplied the power. "
full bore for several days, " says Webster Electric Coopera	 While the bullet was successfully dodged, it's clear that
tive CEO Tom Houston. " Imagine the effect it would have
Associated's balanced generation resources saved the day.
on your engine if you went out and drove your car four
	 " A balanced, diverse mix of generation resources means
days straight with your accelerator pressed to the floor the
flexibility and options, " says Joe. " The ability to pivot to
entire time. The plants performed admirably with just midifferent generation resources when the weather or other
nor issues that were repaired as soon as the energy loads
factors demands it is valuable because it makes sure
reduced back to normal levels. "
members are receiving the most reliable and affordable
	 Some units had hiccups, but nothing that took the
power we can deliver, no matter the situation. "
entire plant down. That's due in large part to the thorough,
APRIL 2021 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP

29


http://www.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Rural Missouri - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - April 2021

Contents
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Contents
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 4
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 5
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 6
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 7
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 8
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 9
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 10
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Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 27
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 28
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 29
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 30
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Rural Missouri - April 2021 - 33
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Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - April 2021 - Cover4
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