Boomerangs are getting smaller, but they’re not losing power as quickly as they used to.
This year, a network of community-owned electric companies will be installing about half of the 30,000 of the generators that have been installed in the state, including the country’s largest.
And in October, they will begin replacing some of the older ones that were already in service, in a project that has been a boon for rural households and utilities in the region.
“The boom in rural markets has been the best thing to happen to the electric market in the last 20 years,” says Brian McBride, president and CEO of the American Electric Power Association.
“I think we are seeing a dramatic shift in the market as more and more rural customers become electric customers.”
The Boomers’ Renewables Initiative has also helped to diversify the power market in rural areas.
In 2017, the organization teamed up with energy and natural resources experts to create the Boomerange Energy Solutions Network, a new strategy to help the rural market by helping rural companies get more solar and wind projects built, and helping them develop alternative sources of energy.
That strategy has helped to create more renewable energy in rural communities than any other state, according to the company’s president and chief executive officer, Mike Minkoff.
“We’ve gotten so much work done by doing this,” Minkoffs told National Review.
“In the past, there’s been so much focus on the energy sector, and we’re able to get all these energy producers to invest in the energy industry.”
Renewable Energy is becoming more popular across the U.S. and around the world as consumers demand more energy efficiency and low-cost electricity.
But in many rural areas, the costs of solar and other renewable energy remain high.
As part of its Renewables in Rural Communities program, the Boomers have been helping to develop renewable energy solutions in rural and regional areas.
“As a result of the Renewables initiative, which we launched in 2019, the average rate of energy generated in our state has gone down by about half since we started,” said McBride.
In the first three quarters of this year, the utility saw a 4.4 percent drop in electricity costs in rural counties.
And since the Renewable Initiative is not mandatory, McBride said, there is no cost to participate.
But the initiative is also helping to reduce the cost of energy in remote communities.
“If you look at the cost for energy produced by the grid in rural states, it is less than 20 cents per kilowatt hour,” he said.
“But in urban areas, it’s over 30 cents.
That is a significant difference.
We’re able, with the Renewabilities Initiative, to have that price difference reduced.”
Renewables Solutions Network was also able to help companies such as The Bumbridge Group and Powerstream Energy to secure more solar energy than they otherwise would have been able to secure.
The Boomers have partnered with the Bumbridges to secure solar energy, as well as a large chunk of their power, and are making a huge difference.
“For us, it really is a big deal,” said Minkowski.
“This is an opportunity for us to really help these companies compete for energy in a competitive marketplace.”
The renewable energy initiative has also been helping communities to transition away from coal to natural gas.
“By partnering with a number of power companies and community groups, we are able to provide renewable energy services to a number and variety of communities,” said Scott Schuetz, president of The Bumpers.
“A lot of the rural communities in the area have had to transition from coal, so it’s important to have this kind of service.”
PowerStream Energy’s Schuets also said that his company’s partnership with the Boomies has had an impact in the local power market.
“What we’re seeing is the energy market in our community is changing,” he told National View.
“When you look around rural communities, they are getting more and less dependent on the electricity grid.”
The Renewables Initiatives initiative is now just beginning, and is expected to take more than a year to complete.
But McBride says that, by the end of 2020, the number of renewable energy projects in the Booms’ portfolio will have doubled.
“That’s going to really start to change how we get power,” he added.
The Renewable Initiatives project is still just a part of the Boers’ energy portfolio, but he hopes it will become a big part of their energy portfolio.
“It’s important for us as an organization to see this as a national program,” he continued.
“So it’s a global initiative, and it’s an opportunity to do more in this region.”
Renewably powered businesses and consumers are beginning to take notice of the efforts being made by the Boos.