Rural Electrification

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

On this page, you’ll find ILSR’s original research and perspective on rural electric cooperatives’ energy policy.




ILSR’s Reports:

Re-Member-ing the Electric Cooperative by John Farrell, Matt Grimley, and Nick Stumo-Langer, March 2016















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




Multimedia Resources

Interview with Anya Schoolman
The #1 Solar Utility is in…Iowa?
A Perfect Storm for Renewables
Members Reviving Atlanta Electric Co-op After CEO Takes Millions



A Kansas Electric Cooperative Offers Energy Savings with $0 Down
Freeing Electric Cooperatives from Fossil Fuel Serfdom?



Image credit: takomabibelot via Flickr