Sometimes it might be easy to do what individual members ask and other times it might be hard. Every time, there is a cost. Every time, the cost is paid by our membership. This fact has never been lost on the board, management and employees at your cooperative.
At Cherryland, our mission statement is a simple one: Member focused. Safe. Reliable. Affordable. I have now been managing your cooperative for almost 13 years. During this time, I believe everyone at Cherryland has been steadfastly behind this simple mission.
When it comes to renewable energy, it hasn’t always been easy. I have been called the “coal guy” on more than one occasion. Candidates with a green agenda have campaigned against incumbent directors in an effort to unseat them for not being more forward thinking in the area of clean energy.
In the face of past attacks in the media, YouTube videos and campaign literature, we have stood our ground and railed back with a message of affordability, reliability and fairness to all members. To the credit of many, many supportive members, we always knew we were not standing alone. Even so, it is always difficult to not take any attack to heart.
Over the years, it began to pay off. In 2006, Wolverine Power Cooperative participated in the first ever commercial wind farm in Michigan before any state mandate and at a price lower than what others were signing up for at that time. There was no rate increase involved. In 2013, Cherryland created the first community solar project in the state of Michigan. Again, no rate increase was involved.
A few years back, we fought against the 25% renewable by 2025 movement because we did not feel that mandates were an affordable way to promote any type of energy. We were never against cleaner air. Many utilities did the same and this mandate was defeated. Again, your cooperative was looked upon as not being in favor of improving the planet. Again, we stood our ground and simply stayed true to our mission statement.
Now, 2015 proved to be a year to be proud of on all fronts. Not once, but twice, the dedicated people at our power supply cooperative, Wolverine Power, closed the deal on 2 separate wind projects. Without any state or federal mandates, Wolverine simply took advantage of market conditions to negotiate wind energy prices that are very affordable. These too will not be the cause of any rate increases.
Prior to 2006, Cherryland had less than 7% of its power supply portfolio coming from renewable resources. On January 1, 2017, your power supply portfolio will be comprised of clean energy resources that exceed 30% of its total. Add this to the 14% nuclear piece and your portfolio gets very close to 50% carbon free.
We have come a long way in the past decade. Everyone at Cherryland is proud of our partners and co-op family members at Wolverine Power Cooperative. Together, we all remain member focused in order to bring each and every member safe, reliable, affordable electricity.
I have no idea what the next decade will bring but I do know we will stick to our mission. It’s what we do. It’s what we have always done.