ENERGY

Joe Miller Discusses the Power Grid: Where Are We Now and Where Are We Going?

Embracing the power of the atom.

Ed Newman
5 min readJan 30, 2024

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In November I was invited to participate in a dialogue titled Shades of Purple: Nuclear Power Dialogue hosted by a group called Project Optimist. I have long believed dialogue, not dogma, is the path to understanding, whatever the issue. The organizers broke us into small groups to field questions related to energy issues in general and nuclear power in particular.

Joe Miller was one of the people in my sub-group. Miller is director of communications with the Minnesota Rural Electric Association. He has been involved with energy and electric cooperatives for three decades. After the Project Optimist meeting I reached out to Joe that I might share some of his insights and experience with readers here.

The Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) is a nonprofit trade association serving Minnesota’s electric cooperatives. MREA provides legislative and regulatory representation, director and employee education programs, technical training for electric cooperative line workers, and serves as the focal point for cooperation among cooperatives. Minnesota’s 44 distribution cooperatives serve about 1.7 million Minnesotans in all 87 counties and operate the largest distribution network in the state with more than 135,000 miles of electric lines.

As director of communications, I and my team help get the word out about all the great things cooperatives are doing in Minnesota.

EN:

JM: Cooperatives operate as not-for-profit utilities. They are owned by those who purchase power from them. They are also governed by a board of directors made up of their consumers. All costs of operating the business are borne by those member-owners. So, cooperatives are truly concerned about the cost of operating, since those consumers end up paying all the bills. They work hard to provide the best value and service levels for their member-owners.

EN:

JM: I toured a coal plant in ND when I was about a sophomore in high school. I remember that everything about it was big. The dragline to scoop coal, the trucks to haul coal, the tires, the plant’s generator…

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Ed Newman

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y3l9sfpj