Governor Kristi Noem praised the state’s electric cooperatives for providing affordable and reliable power to more than 120,000 members across the state while reducing carbon emissions.
Speaking at the 80th Annual South Dakota Rural Electric Associationand at the annual members meeting over the weekend (January 14-15, 2022), Noem noted that the state ranks fifth in renewable energy use and third in service reliability. Basin Electric, the main electricity provider for the state’s electric cooperative network, has reduced its reliance on coal generation by 20% over the past two decades. Approximately 60% of the electricity generated by Basin in its nine-state service area comes from non-coal resources.
“I want to let you know how grateful I am for all you do for our communities in South Dakota. We talk about statistics, but the reality is that you make this happen every day…you ensure we have power that comes from a variety of sources and is reliable for families and businesses,” Noem said.
She said that as a business owner and elected official, she understands the need for a reliable power supply to achieve financial and economic success and also recognizes the maze of regulatory and legislative rules that electricity providers must follow. .
“As someone who has been in business and seen the struggles with regulation at the federal level, I think you are a beacon of hope on the horizon. And it means the world to me that you do what you do,” she said.
The association named Murdo’s Steve Reed and Ed Anderson of Stone as recipients of the 2022 Legacy of Leadership Award.
Reed was director and CEO of West Central Electric in Murdo for 34 years. He was selected to replace the late Fritz Jost as manager in 1985 and held that position until his retirement in 2019.
Anderson joined the South Dakota Rural Electric Association in 2000. He became the organization’s chief executive in 2009 and retired last July. During his career, Anderson has represented rural electric co-ops also serving as a director of the American Coalition for Ethanol Board, the South Dakota One-Call Notification Board, and the South Dakota Co-op Hall of Fame Committee.
“I want to thank the SDREA Board of Directors and your continued commitment to serving all SDREA members,” said Anderson. “You understand the importance of this, and I know your job hasn’t gotten easier in the past 20 years. But I am confident that if you continue to consider cooperative principles to guide your daily actions, you will continue to play a very important and positive role for your members and the citizens you serve across the state.
Rep. Dusty Johnson and the Senses. Mike Rounds and John Thune also addressed the cooperative group. Johnson echoed comments from his congressional colleagues when he said the South Dakota delegation had “a great working relationship” with co-ops.
He said power co-op leaders have a long history of successful collaboration with state and federal lawmakers on a wide range of issues such as environmental regulation, renewable energy, affordability and advancement. of technology.
“We have challenges with the re-emergence of the Waters of the US initiative, improved reliability, and also challenges from a cultural perspective,” he said, noting that a minority of federal lawmakers represent rural districts in our area.
The annual meeting was held at the Ramkota hotel and conference center in Pierre in the presence of more than 300 cooperative leaders. Nearly 100 state legislators representing both major parties attended the association’s legislative reception. The two-day event also included business meetings, market and industry reports, the annual Action Committee for Rural Electrification (ACRE) breakfast and other activities.
SDREA’s current chief executive, Trevor Jones, said the annual gathering is an important time for electric co-ops across the state to connect with each other and with lawmakers to discuss current issues facing the industry. electrical energy is faced. Many of these issues, he said, have the potential to impact the wallets of co-op members.
“It’s always a productive time for us to come together and reconnect with each other and learn about a rapidly changing industry,” he said. “There are important issues such as cybersecurity, renewable energies and the emergence of electric vehicles which can have a direct impact on our members. We need to ensure that we are able to stay up to date on these topics so that we can have informed discussions with our members and provide them with credible information. And we always look forward to meeting our representatives one-on-one to start the session.