The challenges to America’s electric grid and its generating capacity are constantly escalating, as clean air requirements reduce coal generation and the reliability of renewable energy sources fluctuate as much as the weather and the wind. Supplying generation and transmission (G&T) for electric cooperatives is a constantly evolving challenge. 

“Over the next five or 10 years, I believe that we’ll be seeing more change in this industry than we’ve seen in the previous 20 years,” Golden Spread COO J. Jolly Hayden predicts. 

“We built our grid in the 1940s through the 1970s, and what we’re doing with it today is different because of renewables, the retirement of coal and the onslaught of all this low-cost shale gas. So it’s a very dynamic environment we’re in.”

Much more than simply a manufacturer or contractor, Fibrebond has developed a unique niche among the engineered building system market. 

The Minden, La., company, founded in 1982, started out as a concrete building manufacturer for the microwave communications industry. It has since grown to fill over 650,000-square-foot production space that offers precast concrete panel, interlocking steel, and lightweight track and stud building systems. 

Fibrebond also can install completed units or assemble partially built components at a construction site. Additionally, its teams can incorporate system equipment and provide finish work, such as HVAC and plumbing installation. The firm also provides ongoing maintenance to existing structures. 

Business practices evolve, and Methods and materials that were not previously considered dangerous – or not considered at all – now are recognized as harmful or even hazardous. With the renewed emphasis on reducing sprawl in metropolitan areas and the growth of urban infill projects, reclaiming sites hampered by their industrial past has become a valued niche in which EnviroFinance Group (EFG) LLC specializes.

“We’re essentially a land developer or a horizontal developer,” explains Cameron Bertron, executive vice president of development services. “We prepare the land in terms of abatement, demolition and remediation as necessary. By focusing on remediation and infrastructure, EFG sets the table for the vertical developments that follow. This is land recycling.” 

Founded in 1940 to provide electric service to its rural surroundings, Bayfield Electric Cooperative is dedicated to providing the highest quality of service at the lowest possible price. The cooperative currently serves Ashland, Bayfield, Douglas, Iron, Sawyer and Vilas counties in Wisconsin and Gogebic in Michigan. 

“Rural electric cooperatives have proven their reason to exist for more than 75 years, having served rural people and developed rural America remarkably,” CEO Diane Berweger says.

Bayfield Electric Cooperative has 9,544 members and 23 employees. Its footprint includes 1,946 miles of line in total, which is made up of 1,275 miles of overhead line and 671 miles of underground line. In 2014, its revenue was $13.6 million, and 50 percent of that went toward the cooperative’s power bill. Any of the cooperative unclaimed capital credits are given to nine area schools to support scholarships. 

At Baton Rouge Water Co., it is all about what is not in the water, and the company is doing everything it can to protect its purity. Rated several years ago as the second-cleanest municipal water in the United States by Men’s Health, the company attributes its pristine drinking water to deep aquifers that require very little treatment and no filtration. 

“If you speak to hydrogeologists, the water that we produce from our deeper aquifers, and which the people in Baton Rouge drink, hasn’t seen the surface of the Earth since Christ was alive,” President and CEO Patrick Kerr says. “Ours is a very, very pristine source of water. We bring it to the surface, chloraminate it and deliver it to our customers, making sure it doesn’t pick anything up along the way.”

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