A Balanced Fuel Mix Promotes Power Reliability

July 22, 2021

The energy industry is undergoing a dramatic transformation as consumer demand for more renewable energy sources grows and innovation and technology continue to advance exponentially. You’re likely witnessing this energy evolution first-hand.

In driving across the region, you may have noticed fields of solar panels along with an increase in solar panels on your neighbors’ roofs. Or maybe you’ve heard about the impending changes in the transportation sector, with most major vehicle companies announcing plans to offer more electric vehicles at more affordable prices.

Consumer interest in renewable energy is strong and growing. In addition, national studies indicate that consumers have an expectation that companies operate in an ethical and responsible manner––including when it comes to the environment. 

At Union Power, we have always put the good of our community first. While our primary function is to provide reliable and affordable energy to our members, we are more than an electricity provider. Because we are a co-op, our mission is to enrich the lives of our members and to serve the long-term interests of our community. We feel we’re doing both by investing in renewable energy sources.

Clean energy is certainly not new. Solar, wind, and hydropower have been around for decades. However, the recent innovations and advances in renewable technology have led to sharp decreases in cost, making it more feasible and accessible. In recent years, Union Power has been able to adjust our fuel mix by utilizing more renewables. We are working to bring more renewables resources online while investing in new technology, such as battery storage, making renewables like solar power more versatile and reliable. Today, 19% of our fuel mix is comprised of renewable energy sources, the majority of which is hydro.

However, changing the energy mix we use to power homes and businesses doesn’t happen overnight. While renewable energy use increases, we still depend on traditional forms of energy to keep power flowing reliably to your home. After all, solar and wind energy are referred to as “intermittent” power since the sun does not always shine, and the wind does not always blow. This fact, coupled with the growing demand for renewables, creates its own challenges. That’s why there is real value in maintaining a balanced mixture of fuel types to ensure reliability, resiliency, and meet the growing demand for electricity.

As the energy industry continues to evolve, Union Power strives to take advantage of technology advances and market opportunities as they become available. This means we can leverage the flexibility of the grid to offer a wider range of renewable power selections as we continue to bring safe, reliable, and affordable power to our community.

In order for Union Power to meet the growing demand for renewable energy and ensure the reliability of our power supply, we must constantly make operational adjustments as we strive for balance and a brighter future for our members.