Residents of northern Arkansas will soon be able to obtain high-speed Internet access through their local electric cooperative. North Arkansas Electric Cooperative (NAEC) recently received approval from its Board of Directors to expand its residential broadband pilot program, NEXT, Powered by NAEC. This expansion will bring Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) connectivity and one gigabit speeds to the co-op’s entire service area.
Karlee Weinmann, Research Associate for the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, delivered a presentation in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 28th, 2017 at an event called Decarbonizing the Electric Grid. In her presentation she discussed the untapped potential for rural electric cooperatives to democratically engage with their member-owners, commit heavily to renewable energy, and lift up their stories in the energy industry.… Read More
In this episode, Christopher Mitchell, the director of ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks initiative, interviews Hannah Trostle and Karlee Weinmann, Research Associates for the Community Broadband Networks and Energy Democracy initiatives, respectively. The three discuss the cooperative model of ownership and how this model can enable investment in gigabit Internet connections for their member-owners, but also how they are subject to a low participation rates in their elections.… Read More
Nestled in the gently rolling hills of southeastern Iowa, it’s at first difficult to tell what sets Kalona apart from countless similar places on the Midwestern landscape. Small towns like these form the backbone of a region whose economy depends on a rich farming tradition, even well into the 21st century.
But Kalona’s charm doesn’t obscure the innovation that makes it a national leader in clean power generation. In this small community, where many Amish and Mennonite families shun electricity and cars, solar power has proliferated. In fact, the Kalona area is a surprising national leader in solar power generation.… Read More
In March of 2016, we published a report on the state of rural electric cooperatives in the current electricity market: Re-Member-ing the Electric Cooperative. Below you will find our newly developed presentation based on this report. Forward and share widely.… Read More
Exempt from state regulation in 33 states because they purportedly offer democratic and local control, new data on the nation’s rural electric cooperatives suggests that skin color is still a major barrier to their democratic representation.… Read More
This week Ed Marston, former board member of the Delta-Montrose Electric Association in western Colorado, joins John Farrell on Local Energy Rules to talk about the electric cooperative world. He highlights the good, the bad, and what his and other cooperatives are doing to spur clean energy investment in a region that so desperately needs local economic development.… Read More
Electric cooperatives have been the backbone of the nation’s rural electrical system for more than 80 years. Their mission and business model now face more challenges than ever, from financial to contractual to basic member control. But the opportunity is equally great, with a chance for member-driven investment to power hundreds of local economies across the rural United States.… Read More