Electric Co-op Embraces Clean Energy in Colorado

Through community, connectivity and collaboration, CORE Electric Cooperative is redefining the electric distribution industry along Colorado’s Front Range. CORE’s diversified members—from the most rural parts of the state to urbanized neighborhoods—depend on reliable electricity 24/7. CORE not only provides reliable power but also ensures that every member has the energy to thrive.

CORE is the largest electric distribution cooperative in Colorado and one of the largest in the nation with nearly 180,000 services across 5,000 square miles. However, it had humble beginnings, forming in 1938 with just 23 members and 15 miles of service lines. This major expansion—due to a rapidly growing population in its territory—has created a unique opportunity for CORE to continually evolve its business strategy.

“Our diverse member base brings both blessings and challenges. CORE expects to be a premier energy provider, and we measure ourselves against investor-owned, public and co-op utility models. Providing choice and innovation to our members requires us to be not just an energy supplier but also a data manager. How we use data to best serve our members is key,” said Jeff Baudier, CEO of CORE.

CORE is partnering with a new power supplier to create an expansive renewable energy portfolio. These new contracts will provide CORE’s members with reliable, affordable and clean power for the next 20 years. And this electricity will be delivered using advanced distribution technology and state-of-the-art grid management tools. CORE will execute these new power supply projects over the next five years with deliveries beginning in 2026.

“We couldn’t be positioned to execute on these types of innovative transactions without our partnership with CoBank,” Baudier said. “Over the years, CoBank has been the most competitive in terms of financing our operating needs. CoBank’s strength and stability provides reassurance to counterparties as we compete in this fast-paced marketplace.”

CoBank recently financed a $150 million term facility for CORE to support capital expenditure needs for 2022-2023. And CoBank’s line of credit allowed CORE to efficiently manage unexpected costs driven by winter storms. Through CoBank’s relationship with the Farm Credit System, CORE can access services that other commercial lenders can’t facilitate.

Beyond its financial relationship, CORE and CoBank have partnered at the community level. Every year, CORE donates to a local organization, and CoBank matches up to $10,000 through the Sharing Success Program. This year the contribution went to The Aspen Effect, which addresses the youth mental health crises in Colorado.

At the center of CORE’s continued success is its dedicated staff and executive leadership. “CORE has an extraordinarily talented team, both close-knit and professional. They truly care about each other and our members, and they believe in the co-op mission. That makes all the difference,” Baudier said.

This story was originally published in the CoBank 2022 Annual Report.