America’s vast network of rural electric cooperatives covers most of the country’s geographic area and serves more than 40 million people — including many who live in areas with high concentrations of poverty. Arising to serve where for-profit utilities would not, these “democratic” cooperatives could be fertile testing ground for innovative policies and programs. But they are more reliant on coal-fired power and less self-reliant than many other utilities.
Rural electric cooperatives can also play an important role in providing affordable, next-generation Internet service in their communities. Several cooperatives have already stepped up. Read their stories at MuniNetworks.org.
On this page, you’ll find ILSR’s original research and perspective on rural electric cooperatives’ energy policy.
Also see Uncooperative, a report on how Colorado rural electric cooperatives are stymied in their pursuit of renewable energy
Our Articles Featuring Rural Electric Cooperatives
- Video: Transitioning Co-ops Away From Coal by Karlee Weinmann – April 7, 2017
- The Power and Perils of Cooperatives – Episode 12 of the Building Local Power Podcast – February 23, 2017
- Thanks to Co-op, Small Iowa Town Goes Big On Solar by Karlee Weinmann – February 3, 2017
- Presentation: Re-Member-ing the Electric Cooperative by Nick Stumo-Langer – June 14, 2016
- Being Black Still a Barrier to Rural Cooperative Board Membership by John Farrell – May 23, 2016
- Are Rural Electric Cooperatives Driving or Just Dabbling in Community Solar? by Nick Stumo-Langer – March 11, 2016
- Did FERC Just Smash the Biggest Roadblock to Clean, Local Power for Electric Co-ops? by John Farrell – September 28, 2015
- Why Aren’t Rural Electric Cooperatives Champions of Local Clean Power? by John Farrell – August 18, 2014
- Watch: How Democratic Energy Fits the Rural Electric Philosophy by John Farrell by John Farrell – April 10, 2014
- Minnesota’s First Community Solar Project is Minnesota-Made by John Farrell – September 7, 2012
- Change in Federal Incentive Enables Cooperative to Own Wind Project by John Farrell – May 19, 2011
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