Electric cooperatives and other parts of the U.S. power industry support more than 7 million American jobs and power a healthy economy, according to a new study.
The report, published by M.J. Bradley & Associates, estimates that the total economic benefit of the electric power industry is $880 billion annually – 5 percent of the United States’ gross domestic product.
According to the study, one in every 20 American jobs is supported by the electric power sector. The industry directly provides nearly 2.7 million jobs across the nation through its employees, contractors and supply chain, and investments. It also supports an additional 4.4 million jobs indirectly.
Electric cooperatives like Great River Energy and its 28 member cooperatives are not-for-profit businesses that serve primarily rural and suburban communities.
“Electric cooperatives provide economic opportunity in the communities they serve,” said Great River Energy Vice President and Chief Market Officer Jon Brekke. “Reliable and affordable energy powers homes, schools, farms and businesses across America. Cooperatives play an essential role in keeping the local economy strong.”
Great River Energy is owned by 28 member distribution cooperatives that collectively serve 685,000 member accounts, or 1.7 million people. To serve their membership, Great River Energy and its member cooperatives own and maintain more than 95,000 miles of power lines and employ approximately 2,500 Minnesotans.
A 2013 economic study conducted by the University of Minnesota-Duluth showed that Great River Energy’s operations support more than 4,000 jobs and have an average annual economic impact of more than $1 billion.