Delaware Electric Cooperative is a leader in implementing local renewable energy projects and environmental sustainability. Our team is working to reduce our carbon footprint and to provide members with sustainable, resilient and affordable sources of energy for generations to come.
DEC serves approximately 300,000 residents of Kent and Sussex Counties in the State of Delaware. As a utility serving a coastal state, we are acutely aware of how climate change could impact our members, especially those closest to the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. To reduce our carbon footprint, DEC has set a goal — and is well underway in achieving — a reduction in carbon emissions of 50 percent by 2025 and 75 percent by 2050, when compared to 2005 levels.
While our member base has grown by 41 percent over the past 20 years, we’ve already been able to lower our carbon footprint by 40 percent since 2005. We’ve reduced our environmental impact through the implementation of smart grid technologies and energy efficiency programs, the construction of cleaner power plants and through the addition of local renewable energy generating facilities.
The Cooperative’s diversified portfolio of energy resources provides affordable rates to members, while reducing the impact on the environment. Delaware Electric Cooperative is part owner of Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, or ODEC, located in Glen Allen, Virginia. ODEC is an electric generation and transmission cooperative, which provides wholesale power supply to 11 electric cooperatives throughout the States of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. The power plants owned by ODEC and DEC have some of the best environmental records in the nation. ODEC is also only the second generation and transmission cooperative in the U.S. to announce a goal to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.
In 2017, ODEC’s 1,000-megawatt (MW) Wildcat Point Generating Facility became operational. The state-of-the-art, advanced natural gas power station located in Rising Sun, Maryland represents a significant portion of DEC’s low-carbon wholesale power supply. DEC and ODEC also have partial ownership of the North Anna Nuclear Generating Station in Virginia and ODEC provides member co-ops, including DEC, with 300 MW of clean onshore wind energy.
DEC is also helping to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions across the First State through a number of other carbon-free generating resources, including through the purchase of power produced at landfills across our service territory. Excess methane created from decomposing garbage is captured and turned into enough energy to power thousands of Delaware homes. Methane contributes to climate change — and if not being used for energy production, the gas would be released into the atmosphere.
Our Co-op is the only utility in the state to own its own solar generating facility. The first phase of the Bruce A. Henry Solar Farm in Georgetown featured 20 acres of solar panels — the farm nearly doubled in size in 2019, bringing even more clean energy to Delaware homes. The 17-acre expansion produced approximately 5.1 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in the first year. Generating the same amount of electricity using nonrenewable sources would result in the release of more than 3,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or the equivalent emissions from 770 passenger vehicles annually, according to U.S. EPA estimates. In addition to our solar farm[SG1] , hundreds of members have now signed up for our community solar program, which is helping us invest in even more clean energy projects.
Two new solar facilities near Hartly in Kent County and Greenwood in Sussex County are also currently providing clean, local solar energy to members. Locally produced solar energy is now one of the most affordable sources of energy for members and several additional Delaware solar energy facilities are expected to begin generating electricity for members by 2024.