Smart Grid Coop Utility Snapshot 2011

by Rural Smart Grid Summit, GTM Research


While much of the attention concerning the build-out of the smart grid has focused on investor-owned and municipal utilities, rural and coop utilities do, in fact, represent more than 42 million people (and 17 million meters) across 47 different states in the U.S.

Clearly, these utilities represent a minority of the overall market, with approximately 10% of overall generation sales, but they do offer compelling insights since they are not subject to the same regulations as their larger counterparts, and as such can adopt new technologies faster, if they so choose.

Figure: Electric Utility Comparison in the U.S.

(Source: National Rural Electric Cooperative Association)

Smart Grid Coop Utility Snapshot 2011 is a collaboration with the Rural Smart Grid Summit (RSGS). Inside, we present survey data from more than 70 different rural utilities. More than half of the individuals surveyed hold the title of President and/or CEO, and 92% of those surveyed claim to be decision makers. With 85% of those surveyed being exclusively distribution utilities, this is a fair representation of rural utilities in general, as they tend not to hold generation and transmission assets. To get a clearer sense of the size of these utilities, on average, each of the coops surveyed has approximately 20 substations and 25,000 meters.

In this survey, we ask rural utility executives about the extent to which they have deployed various smart grid technologies, including renewable energy and demand response. As one example, the following graph shows their interest in a wide range of smart grid solutions. 

Figure: Coop Utility Interests (Number of Responses by Smart Grid Solution)

(Source: GTM Research)

We hope that this snapshot is helpful in providing a basic sense of this market. In the near future, we intend to provide more comprehensive research concerning rural utilities and their implementation of smart grid technologies. For more information on our current Smart Grid research offerings as well as our Smart Grid Market Research Subscription Service, please visit


Rural Smart Grid Summit

GTM Research

GTM Research, a division of Greentech Media, provides critical and timely market analysis in the form of research reports, data services, advisory services and strategic consulting. GTM Research’s analysis also underpins Greentech Media’s webinars and live events. Our coverage spans the clean energy industry including the solar power, smart grid, energy storage, energy efficiency and wind power sectors. Our analyst team combines diverse backgrounds in investment banking, engineering, information technology, strategic consulting and regulatory sectors. Our analysts are widely known across the industry and speak regularly at industry events all over the world. GTM Research is based in Boston with offices in New York and San Francisco.

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