Environmental Stewardship is Part of Our Community Commitment

CEO Karen Moore

Anyone familiar with Baldwin EMC’s vision statement knows that it calls for us to be a community-involved cooperative. What some might not realize is just how multi-faceted this commitment is.

We’re always working to improve the quality of life in our communities in visible ways, such as supporting charitable causes and underprivileged families, being involved in local events, and working side by side with our Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Alliance. On an individual basis, employees have spent hundreds of hours with boots on the ground, helping neighbors on a grassroots level.

But we’re also dedicated to having a positive impact on our communities in ways that aren’t so visible. I’m referring to our commitment to environmental stewardship. Because Baldwin EMC believes in being responsive to our members’ needs and concerns, we make choices that balance affordability and reliability with environmental sustainability.

For us, environmental stewardship starts with the very source of our power. Ten years ago, the bulk of our power generation, close to 80 percent, depended on coal. Now, working with our wholesale power supplier, PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, we’ve been able to drastically alter our energy mix. In 2019, only about 19 percent of our energy generation resources came from coal. Over the next five years, that number is expected to continually decline. By 2026, coal will only account for around six percent of our energy mix.

As the cost of renewable electricity technology decreases, it becomes increasingly more viable for electric co-ops who work hard to balance affordability and reliability with cleaner sources of electricity. More and more generation and transmission cooperatives, like PowerSouth, are integrating resources like solar power into their overall generation mix. Baldwin EMC is also working with an increasing number of members who are utilizing these technologies in their own homes. (For more information on how utility-scale solar projects will play an increasing role in our power generation, see page 46.)

Beyond just power generation, we’re also practicing good environmental stewardship by promoting energy efficiency. After all, the most environmentally friendly kilowatt-hour is the one you never use. So, when you adjust your thermostat, close your window blinds, or wash your clothes in cold water, you’re not just helping your power bill be lower. You’re helping keep power demand low, which reduces the amount of fossil fuels, like natural gas, that must be used up to provide electricity.

This column is already getting lengthy, and I’ve yet to discuss the osprey nests we’ve built or our recycling efforts. Or our procedures regarding right-of-way trimming in an ecologically sustainable way. The list could go on even further. It all stands as evidence that we’re focused on balancing your need for affordable energy with your need for a healthy, viable environment.

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