Electric Co-op Facts & Figures

From booming suburbs to remote rural communities, America’s electric cooperatives are energy providers and engines of economic development. Electric cooperatives keep the lights on and play a vital role in transforming communities.

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  • Co-ops serve 42 million people, including 92% of persistent poverty counties.
  • Co-ops power over 22 million businesses, homes, schools and farms in 48 states.
  • Co-ops return more than $1 billion to their consumer-members annually as not-for-profit organizations.
  • 832 distribution cooperatives are the foundation of the electric cooperative network. They were built by and serve co-op members in the community by delivering electricity and other services.
  • 64 generation & transmission cooperatives provide wholesale power to distribution co-ops through their own electric generation facilities or by purchasing power on behalf of the distribution members.

Keeping the Lights On

Electric co-ops rely on a diverse suite of resources to reliably meet the energy needs of their communities. Always-available energy is key to keeping the lights on. Yet threats to reliability are increasing.

  • Demand for electricity is growing rapidly. The Energy Information Administration projects that power demand will increase by 2.5% this year and 3.2% in 2025. And over the next five years, peak electricity demand is forecast to grow by 38 gigawatts—the equivalent of adding another California to the nation’s grid.
  • Supply is not keeping up. More than 110 gigawatts of always-available generation—enough to power about 35 million homes—is forecast to retire by 2033.
  • Public policy is making the problem worse.
  • As a result, all or parts of 19 states are at high risk of rolling blackouts during normal peak conditions from 2024 to 2028.

At a Cost Families and Businesses Can Afford

  • 1 in 4 households served by electric co-ops have an annual income below $35,000.
  • Electric co-ops delivered 4.8% more electricity in 2022 than in the previous year.
  • Unlike the rest of the electric sector, electric co-ops sell most of their power—53%—to households.
  • Keeping rates affordable is especially important for these consumers at the end of the line.

Co-ops Are Reducing Emissions

Cooperatives are meeting member expectations by reducing emissions through a combination of emission-reduction measures and switching to natural gas and renewables.

Co-ops reduced sulphur dioxide emissions 83% from 2005 to 2022.

Co-ops reduced nitrogen oxide emissions 68% from 2005 to 2022.

Co-ops reduced carbon dioxide emissions 14% from 2005 to 2022.

Co-ops are incorporating renewables to complement always-available generation:

  • Since 2016, co-ops have nearly doubled their renewable capacity from 8.2 gigawatts to nearly 15.8 gigawatts.
  • Co-ops added over 1.3 gigawatts of new renewable capacity in 2023.
  • Electric co-op wind farms and solar arrays generate enough electricity to power more than 3.5 million homes.
  • Co-ops have announced more than 5.3 gigawatts of renewable capacity additions through 2027.
  • Co-ops also purchase 10 gigawatts of power from federal hydropower facilities.

Hubs of Innovation: Meeting Tomorrow’s Energy Needs by Investing in the Future of Communities

Today, co-ops are positioning themselves to leverage new infrastructure funds to support their communities through programs included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.

As of early 2024, over 60 cooperatives in 30 states have been selected to move forward with funding negotiations for more than $1 billion in federal funding, with more on the way. These include a variety of project types:

  • Clean energy technologies, including solar, hydroelectric and battery storage
  • Microgrid deployment
  • Transmission & distribution upgrades
  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Electric vehicles
  • Broadband and smart grid investments
  • Grid hardening and resilience from natural disasters
  • Long duration battery technologies

The Cooperative Difference: Focused on People, Not Profits

  • Electric cooperatives are built by and belong to the communities they serve. They are led by members from the community and are uniquely suited to meet local needs.
  • In the 2023 J.D. Power Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study, co-ops secured seven of the top 10 spots and the highest average score among all electric utility providers.