by | Jun 19, 2023

A few weeks ago on a Friday afternoon, the Jones family got to travel back in time — not exactly by choice. The chance meeting of my propane tank and a skid-steer resulted in the emptying of my propane supply that would rival Old Faithful.

Thankfully no one was hurt, but the weekend turned into a family camping experience — only in our house. We had zero hot water and no working appliances. 

While my kids didn’t seem to mind the ice baths and hot dogs cooked over our firepit, after a couple days I caught my wife looking up hotels on her phone. The one saving grace came when Lindsey and I built our farmhouse the experts over at Boone Electric Cooperative guided us to a ground-source heat pump, which provides our heating and cooling.

The folks at the Environmental Protection Agency must really enjoy camping, too. They just proposed some new rules for electricity production with the goal of a carbon-free power sector by 2035. If finalized, these rules would shut down the majority, if not all, of your electric cooperative’s natural gas and coal plants. 

Don’t get me wrong, I applaud their good intentions, but this is about as smart as putting an ejection seat in a helicopter. 

Here in Missouri, our electricity is generated by a host of different sources. This mix of coal, natural gas, wind and hydro all play a role in working together to keep your lights on every time you flip that switch. 

We have watched other states shut down coal and natural gas plants without having an alternative and reliable baseload of electricity. As you can imagine, when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing their electricity isn’t flowing. Last December nine of our neighboring states faced rolling blackouts because the demand for electricity outpaced what they could provide. That’s unacceptable and downright dangerous. 

Our electric co-ops aren’t against using renewable resources. In fact, 25% of the electricity you already use comes from renewable resources like wind and water. Because we added these sources when they made economic sense, we are able to do this without blackouts and sky-high electric bills for our members. 

Someday, there will be technology available for electric co-ops to generate 100% renewable, reliable and affordable electricity for you. Until that time, let’s avoid a future of cold showers and lights we can’t turn on. I only want to camp on the back 40.

Caleb is the executive vice president and CEO of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and a member of Boone Electric Cooperative.

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