Strategic Progress Update

Written by Hillary Bedeian and Divya Desai– 6/14/2024

Why We Developed a Strategic Plan and How We’re Doing


The Energy Co-op has been innovating energy solutions for Pennsylvania consumers since 1979. We started by offering Pennsylvania residents a way to purchase more affordable home heating oil during the oil embargo of the late 1970s, and have since evolved to focus on facilitating Pennsylvania’s clean energy future. An important part of being a leader of today’s sustainable energy evolution is recognizing that the path is not a straight line, there are varying needs and means to consider, and there’s no better time than right now to take action. 

In 2023 the staff and Board undertook a strategic planning process and emerged with a strategic plan covering a 2-3 year horizon. Let’s talk about why we developed a strategic plan and how we’re doing so far. 



Excerpt from Strategic Plan Summary 


Why We Developed a Strategic Plan 

Aligning staff and Board vision for The Energy Co-op’s future 

The Energy Co-op staff and Board have changed a lot over the last decade. With new voices come fresh perspectives and new approaches to join the vision and experience of the existing team. In order to achieve mission progress, it’s important that the staff and Board work together to understand membership needs and industry realities to define and work towards shared goals. Our strategic planning retreat in March of 2023 was a day of reflection, ideation, and collaboration, which was followed by months of distilling the outcome of that day and formulating a meaningful plan to achieve our goals. By bringing staff and Board together, we were able to achieve collective alignment on our vision for The Energy Co-op’s future. 



Achieve growth and increase impact 

The Energy Co-op is a mission-driven, member-centric nonprofit organization. But we’re also an operating energy business adhering to rigorous standards and succeeding in an industry full of for-profit companies with company-centric practices. Our dedication to achieving a clean energy future for Pennsylvania means that we approach growth and impact in a manner aligned with our values.  

For us, that means people over profit. But prioritizing our members and our mission doesn’t need to happen to the detriment of business performance. In fact, prioritizing business performance and operating with a growth mindset serves the membership and mission. A larger membership means greater purchasing power to help drive costs down and a louder collective voice to generate demand and drive more investment. Resourcing the team means we have more room to operate effectively, innovate, and create sustained impact. 

The strategic objectives in our current strategic plan aim to better resource the team to achieve growth on multiple fronts:  

  • membership growth – greater collective impact 
  • team growth – more staff bandwidth to achieve mission 
  • increased expertise – more knowledgeable approach 
  • a larger network – greater support and shared progress 

Growth will enable us to make renewable energy more accessible and accelerate Pennsylvania’s transition to clean energy. 

Refocusing ECAP efforts to ensure organizational longevity 

A clean energy future means affordable renewable energy available for everyone, higher standards and mandates for renewable energy, legislative support for clean energy initiatives, and widespread adoption of renewable energy. While that reality can feel far into the future, with the power of collective action, it’s possibly sooner than many think. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), over 21% of electricity generation in the United States is renewable as of 2023, the vast majority of which is wind, solar, and hydro. But Pennsylvania falls far behind that figure, with only 4% of electric generation coming from renewable sources in 2022, which, according to the EIA, is only a 1% increase since 2010. 

The work we do as staff, Board, and members of The Energy Co-op matters. We have our work cut out for us, but we can effect change in the Commonwealth to tip the scales towards more investment in renewable energy. Our strategic objectives aim to increase renewable energy adoption in Pennsylvania, make renewable energy more accessible, mobilize our membership and the broader public to advocate for clean energy initiatives here in the Commonwealth, and educate Pennsylvanians on their energy choices and the importance of renewable energy growth for a more sustainable future for all. 

If we affect the impact we’re striving for through our strategic goals, The Energy Co-op will evolve beyond a retail renewable energy supplier. Like any mission oriented organization, we strive to put ourselves out of our current business in the long run by building a Pennsylvania that prioritizes clean energy as a bedrock principle. As the world’s energy needs evolve, we’ll continue to meet our members where they are throughout the transition, helping to innovate, educate, and increase our overall value to our members and energy consumers. When Pennsylvania is generating and using 100% renewable energy, we’ll already be working on solving the next energy challenge. 

How We’re Doing 

The strategic plan we developed in 2023 encompasses our major goals for the next 2-3 years and is, importantly, a living document.   

After determining our goals and objectives, staff initially spent time organizing ourselves, laying the foundations, frameworks, and tools necessary to set ourselves up for success. We outlined specific inputs and activities we need to carry out in order to achieve the short-term and intermediate outcomes and long-term impacts we aspire to. Because we anticipate many of these activities will continue into 2026, and we operate in a volatile and continually changing industry, staff is focusing on activities to be completed in 2024 and 2025, with the understanding that our goals and activities for fiscal years beyond 2024 may be somewhat speculative in nature. As of halfway through 2024, about 60% of our objectives are in progress to some degree. While we’re proud of the progress made, we’re cognizant that we have a lot of work ahead of us and of how important it is for us to learn along the way, evaluate the quality of our progress, and adapt. 

In tandem with creating a timeline and scope for our strategic objectives, we are developing a framework for evaluating progress against these goals. We plan to track short-term progress on a quarterly basis and medium-term outcomes annually. Each year, you’ll hear from us on progress made towards our broader goals. 

At The Energy Co-op, we operate with the understanding that change is scaffolded: shorter-term, small-scale change lays a foundation on which to build and catalyze longer-term impacts. We know that we can’t improve energy outcomes for all Pennsylvanians on a 2–3-year timeline, but we can pave the way in the near term to achieve aspirational impacts in the years that follow.  

What’s Next? 

We’ve made notable progress on our strategic activities in the last year. As we measure progress to date, we also recognize that we have more exciting work ahead. A reminder that the strategic plan is a living document: our ability to adapt is important for success, so the plan will change as our constituency’s needs and means change. We’ll continue to keep you, our valued members, informed, and encourage each of you to reach out for more information and ways to get more involved. Pennsylvania has not made enough progress towards a clean energy future in the last 15 years, but that doesn’t have to be true of the next 15 years. Let’s change that together.