Commitment to a Cleaner and Stronger Environment
Current renewable investment and smart public policies.
Inclement weather events that continually shatter expectations, such as the snow “anomaly” in Texas this past winter, have become a part of everyday life. For decades, electric cooperatives have been deeply involved in addressing climate change issues, because when inclement weather occurs as a byproduct of climate change, it directly affects power infrastructure. When the primary goal is to supply reliable and cost-effective energy to their members, cooperatives must adapt and advocate for legislation that addresses climate change.
Recently, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC) announced strategic goals to reduce its carbon footprint and enhance its use of clean energy resources. Focusing on smart public policy, significant advances in technologies and strong business leadership, ODEC’s goals are to reduce its carbon intensity (pounds of CO2 emitted per MWh of electricity generated) by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030. ODEC’s overall goal is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Choptank Electric Cooperative and the other electric cooperatives that are member-owners of ODEC, support these ambitious goals.
To put these goals into present-day perspective, more than 35% of ODEC’s energy was generated by non-CO2 emitting resources in 2020. The investment into renewable energy such as wind, solar, and landfill gas has translated into cost-effective successes. These investments take several years and many resources to obtain and must be proven to not disrupt the reliable electric service ODEC and Choptank Electric provide to their members. The continuous flow of electricity to power the region is vital to the everyday needs of our members.
ODEC has gone to great lengths to ready their generation plants for challenging weather conditions, such as the polar vortex in 2014. Building a strong power supply portfolio, including natural gas generation, is one of ODEC’s objectives. ODEC’s plant in Cecil County, Wildcat Point, provides clean, reliable power for more than 390,000 homes in the region annually. Online since 2018, Wildcat Point is one of the cleanest natural gas facilities of its size in the country.
Further commitment to a cleaner and stronger environment must also include smart public policies that consider the impact of achieving net-zero CO2 emissions goals and the effects it would have on electric grid reliability. Choptank Electric Cooperative and ODEC advocated for these types of smart policies during the 2021 session, when many climate change bills made their way through the legislative process. In the future, we expect other states, including Maryland, to continue developing plans to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.