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At South Central Power, all-of-the-above is best for energy mix

September 2, 2021

By Rick Lemonds, President & CEO

As America recovers from an extended pandemic and we all try to get back to normal, a threat is emerging in parts of the nation that could disrupt our way of life in new and unexpected ways. Cold, heat, drought, storms, and newer, intermittent generation resources are stressing energy grids, causing blackouts, soaring energy bills, and other problems. Thankfully, so far in Ohio, we haven’t had to contend with any widespread power grid disruption issues. That’s due in part to our participation in a large, multistate regional transmission grid and also to our adequate availability of what we call “baseload generation,” or power that’s generated from a fuel source that provides a constant source of energy, unlike some intermittent sources like solar or wind. At our virtual member meetings earlier this year, we got questions from some of you about these issues and concerns. I want to take time this month to address what we’re doing here in Ohio and more specifically at South Central Power Company to keep your power flowing in a safe, dependable, and affordable way.

Dependability and value

Working with other electric cooperatives in Ohio and our power generation and transmission cooperative, Buckeye Power, we intend to add renewable energy to our generation mix at a pace that meets member needs but isn’t at the expense of dependability or value. We know you don’t want skyrocketing bills or rolling blackouts. I’m proud that as an industry, the U.S. electricity sector reduced CO2 emissions by 33% in the last five years and is still the only industry that has achieved significant carbon reduction in that time period.

All-of-the-above energy approach

We recognize diversity is a strength when it comes to generating resources. While the bulk of our generating resources still comes from coal and natural gas, we are also investing in renewable sources, and, today, we utilize solar, hydropower, anaerobic digesters, and landfill methane to supplement our energy mix. When it comes to coal, we’ve invested to make the Cardinal Generating Station, a major employer and economic driver near the eastern portion of our service territory, one of the cleanest burning coal plants in the world today.

Working with your interests in mind

Working with our generation and transmission partners at Buckeye Power, we believe a balanced approach is the key to dependable power that’s still a good value for our members. That’s why, while we still rely on coal generation to keep the power flowing to your home or business whenever and wherever you need it, we also are investing in facilities like our OurSolar generating resource. Located in the heart of our service territory in the Rock Mill Industrial Park in Lancaster, South Central Power’s OurSolar facility is the largest cooperative-owned solar installation in Ohio. Just as we have been for the last 85 years, South Central Power will continue to work and invest with your interests in mind. And we promise to use this space in Ohio Cooperative Living to keep you informed as we navigate a changing utility landscape in the years ahead. To learn more about our power mix and renewables, visit our website.

From the September 2021 issue of Ohio Cooperative Living.