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Re-Member-ing Rural Electric Cooperatives Report Presentation


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Electric cooperatives have been the backbone of the nation’s rural electrical system for more than 80 years. Their mission and business model now face more challenges than ever, from financial to contractual to basic member control. But the opportunity is equally great, with a chance for member-driven investment to power hundreds of local economies across the rural United States.

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Re-Member-ing Rural Electric Cooperatives Report Presentation

  1. 1. R E S T O R I N G D E M O C R A C Y A N D A D VA N C I N G C L E A N E N E R G Y RE-MEMBER-ING RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES John Farrell Director of Energy Democracy, Institute for Local Self-Reliance March 29, 2016
  2. 2. 75% of land area, 42% of distribution lines, 11% of population
  3. 3. H E AV Y O N C O A L
  4. 4. S T U C K I N L O N G C O N T R A C T S Great River Energy Tri-State Seminole Electric Basin Electric 0 17 34 51 6820502032 2084 Typical power contract expiration date for members co-ops of… 2066 2045 2050 2055 2070
  5. 5. Averagemember-voterturnout 80%-100% 60%-80% 40%-60% 30%-40% 20%-30% 15%-20% 10%-15% 5%-10% 2%-5% <2% 0 50 100 150 200 82 30 27 12 4 0 4 0 50 100 150 200 73 158 193 L O W PA R T I C I PAT I O N Number of cooperatives 7 2 % H AV E L E S S T H A N 1 0 % AV E R A G E T U R N O U T ! Average turnout in cooperative board elections
  6. 6. C O - O P T U R N O U T L O W E R T H A N M O S T O T H E R E L E C T I O N S 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Presidential elections National mid-term elections Municipal elections Co-op board elections
  7. 7. NumberofMembers 0 20,000 40,000 60,000 80,000 100,000 120,000 140,000 160,000 180,000 200,000 Voter Turnout 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% LARGER COOPERATIVES HAVE LOWER TURNOUT Median turnout: 6.2%
  8. 8. State regulates co-ops “Other” form of regulation No regulation Source: GAO, April 2015: http:// MINIMAL STATE REGULATION n/a
  9. 9. S I G N S O F I M P R O V E M E N T
  10. 10. R E S T O R I N G L O C A L C O N T R O L FERC says local co-operatives can break out of long-term contracts with locally procured power*
  11. 11. E N A B L I N G M E M B E R I N V E S T M E N T “pay as you save”
  12. 12. Commission-approved tariffs Existing programs Midwest Energy NH Elec. Co-op Roanoke Elec. Co-op How$mart KY Several co-ops offer on-bill repayment tariffs Central Elec. Power Ouachita Electric Clean Energy Works Portland
  13. 13. E X P E R I M E N T I N G W I T H C O M M U N I T Y S O L A R
  15. 15. C H A N G I N G T H E R U L E S P R O V I D I N G T O O L S 1 0 0 % R E N E WA B L E L O C A L E C O N O M Y H U M A N S C A L E L O C A L O W N E R S H I P D E M O C R AT I C A U T H O R I T Y I L L U S T R AT I N G T H E V I S I O N
  16. 16. D O W N L O A D O U R F U L L R E P O R T R E A D M O R E @johnffarrell