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Old Dominion Electric Cooperative sets net zero CO2 emissions goal

Old Dominion Electric CooperativeOld Dominion Electric Cooperative announced Thursday a goal to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

ODEC has also set an interim goal to reduce its carbon intensity by 50 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

The wholesale power provider of 11-member electric distribution cooperatives will be the second generation and transmission cooperative in the country to set a net zero carbon goal.

“We’re dedicated to expanding our carbon-free energy generation. ODEC is committed to evaluating all options and working with our board to identify the most cost-effective alternatives to further reduce our CO2 footprint while keeping electricity affordable and reliable,” said Marcus Harris, president and chief executive officer of ODEC.

Since 2005, ODEC has reduced CO2 emissions by 46 percent and has reduced its carbon intensity by 44 percent. The 2050 goal further emphasizes the cooperative’s dedication to using renewable energy sources and builds on ODEC’s mission of providing affordable, reliable, and sustainable power to its member distribution cooperatives.

“I commend ODEC for being only the second power generation cooperative in the country to adopt a net zero carbon goal,” said Del. Rip Sullivan (D-Arlington). “I look forward to working with them to foster policies in the coming years that accelerate the decarbonization of our electricity sector.”

“We applaud ODEC for recognizing the need to decarbonize the power sector and look forward to working with them going forward to ensure we equitably transition to clean energy,” said Will Cleveland, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center.

“Rural electric cooperatives serve over 40 million people while selling over 10 percent of the nation’s electricity,” said Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and former deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. “They have unique challenges given their size and geographic distribution as the country needs to move to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. By establishing a goal and a vision for net zero emissions in 2050, ODEC is presenting an example for other cooperatives across the country and is to be commended for this leadership.”

The Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative, a member of ODEC, is also committed to the concept that a diversified energy mix should be used to uphold its mission of providing members with safe, reliable, and affordable electric service.

SVEC will be dedicating a portion of its strategic plan for the future of clean energy integration.

These conversations will be ongoing at the board of directors level during 2021.

More than 35 percent of ODEC’s energy was generated by non-CO2 emitting resources in 2020, and power from ODEC’s only coal plant – Clover Power Station – has declined from 25 percent of its power supply in 2005 to just 5 percent in 2019.

Currently, ODEC has 300 MW of wind, solar, and landfill gas as part of its resource mix and has plans to add additional renewable resources in the future.

ODEC is also investing in battery storage opportunities and is seeking proposals from several vendors to develop projects throughout its members’ service territories.

ODEC also works closely with its members to offer retail consumer-members energy efficiency options.

“ODEC plans to vigorously pursue its carbon reduction and clean energy expansion goals, but will also ensure that achieving that goal will not disrupt the reliable electric service it has provided for more than 70 years,” said Harris, who noted that the Virginia Clean Economy Act includes a provision that would give investor-owned utilities the opportunity to petition the State Corporation Commission to keep a power plant open if closing the plant would threaten the reliability or security of electric service to customers.

“Since its inception, ODEC has been an innovative leader among cooperatives in its efforts to provide affordable and reliable electricity,” said John Lee, chairman of the board of directors of ODEC. “Today, we very proudly announce that, once again, we’re taking an industry leadership role with our carbon reduction, and clean energy goals. We continue to be focused squarely on doing what is in the best interest of our consumer-members, and that includes being a sustainable energy leader.

“This net zero goal fits right into that mission,” Lee said. “We’re committed to lead the way in exploring and adopting strategies that will mitigate the environmental impact of our efforts to provide electric service to our members.”

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