Durbin also asked Jo-Carroll Energy’s Michael Kasper for ideas on expanding renewable energy in rural communities
WASHINGTON – US Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) attended today’s Senate Agriculture, Food and Forestry Committee hearing on Farm Bill 2023: Rural Development and Energy Programs. During the hearing, Durbin talked about the benefits of expanding renewable energy to rural communities, including solar panels.
“We received our utility bill for October at our home in Springfield, Illinois. I’m happy to let you know that we have no electric bills for the month of October… This saved us $100. How did we do it? We installed solar panels two months ago. Now we generate more electricity on my roof than we use in my house,” Durbin said.
Durbin recounted a story from a recent meeting with the Illinois Farm Bureau. An Illinois hog farmer shared that he wanted to install solar panels on his farm to save electricity, but abandoned the project after the electric cooperative found that he would also have to pay for expensive power line upgrades serving his farm.
Durbin asked Michael Casper, president and CEO of Jo-Carroll Energy, Inc., based in Elizabeth, Illinois, for his thoughts on how such problems might be solved.
Casper responded that many utility lines may be decades old and emphasized the need for more federal support to modernize the grid.
The Inflation Reduction Act included $2 billion in Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants to help farmers buy solar panels. The legislation also provided $9.7 billion to help rural electric cooperatives build new power generation and transmission with the greatest potential to reduce greenhouse gases.
A video of Durbin’s remarks is available here.
Audio of Durbin’s remarks is available here.
Footage of Durbin’s remarks is available to TV stations here.
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