Even during a global pandemic, electric cooperatives continue to be significant economic engines in their communities.
That’s according to the latest National Cooperative Bank Co-op 100 list, which ranks co-ops across a variety of industries by revenue. Electric co-ops account for almost one-quarter of NCB Co-op 100, collectively earning $20.4 billion in revenue and topping $64.5 billion in assets last year.
NCB releases its Co-op 100 list each October during National Cooperative Month. In total, the 100 co-ops on the list posted 2020 revenues of more than $226.1 billion, compared to $228.2 billion in 2019. Twenty-four electric co-ops made the list the last time around, with $22.3 billion in revenue and $65.2 billion in assets for 2019.
Basin Electric Power Cooperative repeated as the highest-ranking electric co-op at No. 20. Headquartered in Bismarck, North Dakota, the generation and transmission co-op earned about $2 billion in revenue in 2020. Oglethorpe Power Corp., a G&T based in Tucker, Georgia, landed in the 33rd spot with $1.4 billion in revenue.
“OPC is among the nation’s largest power supply cooperatives and one of the primary energy producers in Georgia, generating power for 38 electric membership corporations and the approximate 4.3 million people they serve,” said Oglethorpe Power President and CEO Mike Smith. “In addition to generating electricity, OPC takes great pride in supporting the state’s economy, particularly communities that are home to OPC-owned generation facilities.”
Five distribution co-ops made this year’s list, including Middle Tennessee EMC in Murfreesboro at No. 83 with $703 million in revenue for 2020, compared to $616 million in 2019.
“While holding to the traditional values that should always characterize a local, not-for-profit electric cooperative, we believe MTE is a differentiator for our communities through our efforts to innovate, spur economic development and create positive community impact,” said MTE President & CEO Chris Jones. “This shows up in everything from promoting electric vehicles and fiber/broadband to employee engagement in charitable and community causes to strong involvement in local chambers of commerce.”
With $20.4 billion in revenue, energy and communications co-ops made up the fourth-largest sector on the list, behind agriculture with $123.3 billion in revenue, grocery co-ops with $30.3 billion and finance with $26.8 billion.
The No. 1 co-op on the list remains CHS Inc. of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota, a global agribusiness firm, with 2020 revenues of $28.4 billion.
Victoria A. Rocha is a staff writer for NRECA.