Electric co-op leader appointed to US energy committee

Louis Finkel will bring the voice of America’s electric co-ops to the committee, which is looking at ways to modernise the country’s power infrastructure

A leading representative of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) has been appointed to serve on the US Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC).

Louis Finkel, NRECA’s senior vice president of government relations, was appointed by secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm to serve a two-year term on the committee.

The EAC is made up of around 35 members including representatives of utility companies, equipment manufacturers, construction companies, state governments, national security and law enforcement agencies, environmental and consumer groups, and cybersecurity and national defence industries. Its role is to help department define a strategy to modernise the country’s electricity infrastructure.

Granholm said that as a member of the EAC, Finkel “will have the important responsibility to provide DOE advice concerning these critical issues,” including “the development of smart grid technologies, research and development of energy storage technologies, renewable energy resource system integration, and new transmission infrastructure”.

Finkel said: “I’m honoured to be able to serve as a voice for America’s electric co-operatives as the nation works toward a future that depends more on electricity to power the American economy.

“It’s critically important for rural communities and the co-ops that serve them to have a seat at the table during this crucial time.”

NRECA represents over 900 consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric co-ops, public power districts, and public utility districts across the US, and has had representatives on the EAC before. Also serving is Clay Koplin, CEO of Cordova Electric Cooperative in Alaska, who was recently reappointed to the committee.