From Underdogs to Leaders: Co-ops in Energy Transition

By Teri Viswanath

January 27, 2022

Key Points

  • Despite an absence of financial incentives, electric co-ops are transitioning to low or zero-carbon resources at a similar or faster than average pace. What’s more, the delayed start in developing these resources possibly contributed to keeping member-rates low.
  • The next chapter of the nation’s transition to clean energy will require greater supply-side adoption of renewable generation as well as profound consumer coordination. And, given their unique governance structure, rural electric cooperatives are possibly better positioned to excel at this phase.
  • Electric cooperatives have quietly emerged as laboratories for clean grid innovation, outpacing investor-owned utilities on smart meter installations, time-based pricing pilots, and experimental storage solutions.
  • All told, rural communities could begin to aggressively close the energy transition gap over the next decade – pivoting from underdog to leader on clean energy.

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