AECC is dedicated to promoting efficient use of valuable energy resources and protecting natural resources and has been at the forefront of the renewable energy movement for decades. Although AECC did not build hydropower plants until the 1980s, the cooperatives had long been familiar with the benefits of hydropower. From their very inception, they depended on hydropower from federal hydropower projects to supply energy to their members.
The cooperatives completed the first of three hydropower plants on the Arkansas River in one of their most ambitious generation projects ever in December 1988. The plant, the Clyde T. Ellis Hydroelectric Generating Station, was built at the James W. Trimble Lock and Dam near Fort Smith. It marked the cooperatives' commitment to a long-term, low-cost power source for their members, as well as their dedication to environmentally friendly power, long before it was fashionable to do so. Later in the 1980s and 90s, the cooperatives completed two other hydropower plants, making the total investment in the hydropower energy resources at more than $330 million.
In 2012, AECC announced a long-term power purchase agreement for 51 megawatts of wind energy from the Flat Ridge 2 South Wind Farm in Kansas.
AECC is also committed to promoting the efficient use of electricity to meet the growing energy load requirements of its members. While energy efficiency alone will not eliminate the need to invest in additional generation resources, it does have unique benefits beyond lowering a member’s electric bill. The efficient use of energy exemplifies individual action accruing to the benefit of both the individual and the broader community, which is a defining characteristic of the cooperative business model. To maximize the potential of system-wide energy efficiency efforts, AECC is dedicated to on-going efforts to identify best practices, educate members about energy efficiency programs, and determine actionable innovations for future implementation.
Throughout its history, AECC’s leaders have made tough choices and taken bold positions to ensure that the cooperative could meet its members’ power needs. Today, those leadership principles are more important than ever. The cooperative will continue to make decisions and take a stand to support efforts for energy policies that are fair and in the best interest of electric cooperative members.
Looking to the future, AECC will continue to search for innovative methods to provide members with environmentally sound power resources by maximizing the value of existing generation resources, investing in new technologies and developing renewable energy sources.