HUGHESVILLE, Md. (May 20, 2010)—Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative Inc. (SMECO) has agreed to purchase a portion of the energy and associated environmental attributes from the Stony Creek Wind Project located near Somerset, Pennsylvania-just 150 miles north of SMECO's service area. The project began commercial operation in the fall of 2009 and is owned and operated by a subsidiary of E.On Climate and Renewables. SMECO began taking power from Stony Creek on May 5, 2010.
SMECO, a customer-owned electric utility with 148,000 services, and Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC), which provides wholesale power to 11 electric cooperatives and their 500,000 customer-members, have completed separate agreements to purchase the renewable energy generated by the wind turbines for the next 18 years.
The 35 Stony Creek wind turbines have a total possible output of 52.5 megawatts (MW). SMECO's share of the energy produced will provide about 1.6 percent of the Co-op's total energy load. All utilities in Maryland are required to produce or purchase a certain amount of renewable energy. Austin J. Slater, Jr., SMECO president and CEO, said, "We are very excited about the Stony Creek project. We are always working to be good stewards of the environment and to keep our electric rates competitive. Our customers want us to be involved with renewable and environmentally friendly energy products that don't add significant costs to our power portfolio or their electric rates. This project helps us to accomplish those goals."
The National Renewables Cooperative Organization (NRCO), which is owned by 24 power supply and distribution cooperatives, facilitated and negotiated agreements between SMECO, ODEC, and E.On Climate and Renewables. Both SMECO and ODEC are founding members of NRCO and their transactions represent the first of many planned renewable energy projects for NRCO and its member cooperatives. Slater added, "We worked with NRCO to acquire Stony Creek as a renewable energy resource. They worked with the developer to bring this project to the table and assisted with the contract negotiations."
NRCO and its 24 member cooperatives, which serve 11 million electric customers in the United States, bring together power supply and distribution cooperatives from different regions of the country to access large-scale renewable energy projects located throughout the continental United States.
Amadou Fall, CEO of NRCO, said, "The SMECO and ODEC agreements represent the execution of NRCO's mission to evaluate, deliver, and facilitate the negotiation of promising opportunities for its member cooperatives that will help them achieve meaningful participation in renewable energy projects at the most affordable cost. We look forward to continuing success helping other member cooperatives meet their renewable energy goals."