October is National Cooperative Month, a proclamation that first originated in Minnesota in 1948. Celebrated by cooperatives nationwide during October, National Co-op Month is an annual opportunity to raise awareness of a trusted, proven way to do business and build communities.
“More than 70 years later, this same approach guides Minnesota’s electric cooperatives, which collectively serve 1.7 million Minnesotans in all 87 counties and operate the largest electric distribution network in the state,” says Darrick Moe, president/CEO of the Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA). “Day in and day out, Minnesota’s electric cooperatives are engaged in their local communities, delivering programs and services that enhance the quality of life for member-consumers.”
Minnesota’s electric cooperatives are leading significant efforts related to broadband, the clean energy transition and electric vehicles.
Broadband. The state’s electric cooperatives recently led an effort to move the state closer to border-to-border broadband access by advocating for essential provisions in the Commerce & Energy omnibus bill.
“The pandemic demonstrated that broadband is a critical infrastructure, much like clean water and reliable electric service,” says Brian Krambeer, president/CEO of MiEnergy Cooperative and a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband. “Minnesota’s electric cooperatives have the infrastructure in place to play an essential role in delivering broadband to the unserved and underserved residents of our state.”
Clean Energy Transition. Minnesota’s electric cooperatives are leading the clean energy transition with members in mind. A focus on member priorities ensures transition toward clean energy sources is a win-win-win for Minnesotans, energy providers and the environment.
“Minnesota’s electric cooperatives led a collaborative effort to modernize Minnesota’s outdated conservation improvement program, which resulted in the passage of the ECO Act,” Moe says. “The legislation gives electric cooperative consumers additional ways to lower energy bills and provides better tools for reducing carbon emissions.”
To achieve sustainable and long-term measurable results, Minnesota’s electric cooperative are focused on energy innovation – from designing energy efficiency and electric vehicle charging programs to integrating solar and battery storage. Responsible, reliable innovation is essential for moving into a clean energy future.
Electric Vehicles. As the electric grid becomes cleaner, choosing electric-powered appliances, vehicles or tools also provides environmental benefits over time. Across Minnesota this fall, electric cooperatives are hosting events to help member-consumers learn about and test drive electric vehicles.
Many electric cooperatives are incentivizing switching to electric products through rebate and cost-share programs. In addition, owning an electric vehicle can save over $800 in annual maintenance, and the average cost of charging an electric car is equivalent to $1.20 per gallon of gasoline.
“Electric vehicles are highly efficient, converting around 77% of their power into movement. Gas-powered vehicles only convert 12-30%,” Moe adds.
ABOUT THE MINNESOTA RURAL ELECTRIC ASSOCIATION
The Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA) is a nonprofit trade association serving Minnesota’s electric cooperatives. MREA provides legislative and regulatory representation, director and employee education programs, technical training for electric cooperative line workers and serves as the focal point for cooperation among cooperatives. Minnesota’s 44 distribution cooperatives serve about 1.7 million Minnesotans in all 87 counties and operate the largest distribution network in the state with more than 135,000 miles of electric lines.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Krista Benjamin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 763-424-7235