Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas President/CEO Vernon “Buddy” Hasten (center) spoke about electric grid reliability at the 2024 NRECA PowerXchange Conference.Conference.
Category: Currents

Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas President/CEO Vernon “Buddy” Hasten was a featured speaker at the 2024 National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) PowerXchange Conference in San Antonio on March 4.

Hasten and Middle Tennessee Electric CEO Chris Jones spoke to attendees about effectively communicating on reliability in difficult situations. Jones discussed 2022 power curtailments ordered by the Tennessee Valley Authority, the wholesale energy provider for most Tennessee electric cooperatives. He said that the curtailments should serve as a wake-up call to the loss of reliability due to the closure of many proven baseload power generation resources.

Hasten echoed the concern and shared the power curtailment situation that occurred during Winter Storm Uri in 2021. He discussed the intensity of facing such curtailments, as it impacts the lives of members and their families.

The Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas’ Balance of Power campaign was highlighted during the session. Session facilitator Stephen Bell, senior director of media and public relations for NRECA, complimented Hasten on the forward-looking campaign that was launched about two years ago.

“We are in phase two of our Balance of Power campaign to educate Arkansas’ electric cooperative members, elected officials and the general public about the need for a balance of proven, dispatchable baseload power generation resources and non-fossil resources,” Hasten said. “This phase of the campaign is targeted at educating our public on key messages and terms that will be used, as our state and nation face the challenges of growing electricity demand and potential issues with meeting the load demands.”