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Wind Cooperative of the Year 2004: Western Farmers Electric Cooperative

Phil Dougherty (left), National Coordinator, Wind Powering America, presented the Wind Cooperative of the Year 2004 Award to Scott Williams (right), commercial and industrial marketing manager of Western Farmers Electric Cooperative, Anadarko, Oklahoma.

Wind Cooperative of the Year 2004: Western Farmers Electric Cooperative

Date: 2/27/2005

Location: Anadarko, OK

Phil Dougherty, National Coordinator, Wind Powering America, presented the Wind Cooperative of the Year 2004 Award to Scott Williams, commercial and industrial marketing manager of Western Farmers Electric Cooperative, Anadarko, Oklahoma, at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association's (NRECA) TechAdvantage 2005 Conference and Exhibition, San Diego, CA.

Mr. English, Martin Lowry, members of NRECA, CRN and utility managers, thank you for the opportunity to be with you and to represent the Department of Energy and our Wind Powering America program. Wind Powering America was created specifically to encourage the increased use of wind-generated power. We are blessed to have dedicated staff working with us on this venture, including my colleague Randy Manion of WAPA, who manages our public power outreach effort.

We work with many partners across the country, including our country's rural electric cooperatives. Together we explore wind as a power generation option, examine what it is and is not, and have an honest discussion on all relevant issues. Over the past few years we have developed general and technical information on wind energy specifically in the coop voice, participated in each other's conferences, and provided detailed, hands-on assistance to coops on wind. You've been well served by your representatives at NRECA/CRN in Virginia, including our good friend Ed Torrero, who is a joy for us to work with. We also recognize the efforts of Bob Saint and Bob Gibson, who I had a chance to work with several years ago. We don't always agree with each other, and there are some issues that time will resolve one way or the other. However, if we proceed as valued partners, and treat each other with dignity and respect, we will succeed.

Coops are important partners for us for a number of reasons. First, you serve the majority of the landmass of the U.S. Second, you are the closest utility leaders to their customers. Third, the decisions you make, as responsible community leaders, on how to provide affordable, reliable power determine our national energy policy. Our nation and its rural communities — flyover country to some — face critical energy issues that will affect our future. We are vulnerable to energy imports, and I believe your efforts to balance your portfolio will be key to a strong America. Having spent part of 2004 in the Middle East, I am convinced that developing our homeland energy resources is the only effective way we have to ever strengthening our homeland security.

Today we take a moment to recognize one of your members who has done just that — they have decided to enhance the strength of their community, their utility, and our nation by using wind power. Western Farmer's Electric Cooperative has chosen to serve 2/3 of the State of Oklahoma by buying wind power for its 19 member coops, stimulating the development of the $75 million Blue Canyon Wind Project. It is fitting that Western Farmer's was recognized by its peers as a leader for stimulating this project and bringing clean, affordable energy as well as needed economic development to Oklahoma communities. Thank you to Gary Roulet, CEO, and Scott Williams, Marketing Manager of Western Farmer's, for strengthening Oklahoma and strengthening our country.

This information was last updated on August 02, 2011