Reliable electricity when you need it.
For most things in life, balance is healthy. The same is true of the power generation mix that delivers electricity to your home, farm or business. Balance is a key part of the reliability Associated Electric Cooperative, the power generation and transmission cooperative for Missouri’s, southeast Iowa’s and northeast Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives, works toward every day.
Associated’s balanced generation mix — featuring different fuels and ways to generate electricity — ensures lights come on when you flip that switch. Coal, natural gas, wind and hydro-power generation means flexibility to meet members’ needs. This mix lets Associated focus on reliability, along with providing electricity that is affordable. By using coal and natural gas units members receive electricity reliably from generators designed to run around the clock. These plants can increase or decrease their power output to serve members when they need electricity.
“Keep the turbine turning so we can keep the lights burning.”
Associated’s maintenance programs ensure these generators are efficient and available when they’re most needed. If one unit stops operating, others make up the difference.
Joe Bader, an Ozark Border Electric Cooperative member, is one of many Associated employees tasked with keeping plants running. Joe is a journeyman machinist/mechanic at the New Madrid Power Plant. He works on equipment that supports power production, including turbines. His motto? “Keep the turbine turning so we can keep the lights burning.”
Joe says being a co-op member drives him to serve diligently. He knows families like his depend on his work for the electricity that powers their lives. “That inspires me to do the best I can,” Joe says. “No one likes to be without electricity for even a minute. My job is to ensure every piece functions so these power plants stay on line.”
Why members benefit from a diverse supply
Wind and hydro-power also are important parts of Associated’s generation mix. But there’s a difference. They only produce electricity when wind and water are plentiful enough to make turbines spin. Generation from renewable sources, like solar, typically don’t match members’ peak use times — early in the morning on a winter day or late in the day during the summertime. This mismatch is why having a diverse power supply, with a foundation of around-the-clock resources like coal and gas, is important.
It’s a balance
A balance of generation sources means the lights will keep burning for members throughout Associated’s system. More than 700 employees like Joe work for Associated at its power plants and headquarters in Springfield, Missouri. Each is a critical part of the power supply picture, and each is devoted to ensuring you have affordable, reliable electricity when you need it.