(ARLINGTON, Va.) – On Earth Day, America’s Electric Cooperatives celebrate the community of cooperatives around the world. From member-owned electric cooperatives in Bangladesh and Haiti to agricultural cooperatives in Ghana and Kenya, the cooperative business model puts the needs of members first, improving the quality of life and strengthening local economies.
“On Earth Day cooperatives are celebrating the global reach of a business model that can transform the lives of its members,” said NRECA Interim CEO Jeffrey Connor. “The family of member-owned cooperatives – agricultural co-ops, food co-ops, credit unions and electric co-ops – is making life better in thousands of communities around the world by emphasizing partnership and cooperation. That concern for community guides the work of electric cooperatives in everything we do.”
Fifty years ago, the newly developed U.S. Agency for International Development joined forces with NRECA International to bring electricity to developing countries worldwide. More than 110 million people around the globe have benefited from access to electricity.
Increased access to electricity in more than 42 countries has boosted agricultural productivity, created new jobs in micro and small enterprises and raised both incomes and quality of life.
America’s electric cooperatives believe the consumer-centric utility model, a model that aligns the goals of the utility with the interests of consumers, both promotes innovation and mitigates the risks that come with rapid technological change.
Consistent with this consumer-centric model, cooperatives are leading the industry in the development of community approaches to solar and energy storage. Co-ops own or purchase 6700 megawatts of renewable capacity. As of March of this year, 96 distribution co-ops in 29 states have developed or are planning community solar programs.
Electric cooperatives are an integral part of the $370 billion U.S. electric utility industry. They play a critical role in our nation’s economy and in local communities.
In addition to electric service, electric co-ops are deeply involved in promoting development and revitalization projects, small businesses, job creation, improvement of water and sewer systems and assistance in delivery of health care and educational services.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization that represents the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states.