Energy market benefits members

Great River Energy's Coal Creek Station power plant

As a member of the Midwest energy market, Great River Energy can sell energy produced at generation resources like Coal Creek Station across a much larger footprint.

The electricity that toasts your breakfast and cools your milk could be produced at a wind turbine in Minnesota, a power plant in North Dakota or a hydroelectric dam in Manitoba. And, over the course of a day, you might receive electricity from all three.

Great River Energy is a member of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), which administers the wholesale energy markets in the Midwest.

All the energy member cooperatives use to serve homes, farms and businesses is purchased from that market. At the same time, Great River Energy sells the output from its power generation resources into the market.

Participation in energy markets is beneficial for cooperative members because it enables Great River Energy to access a diverse energy market instead of relying solely on its own resources to serve members. And it provides Great River Energy with the ability to sell power from its resources across a wider footprint.

This combination of market opportunities and generation ownership ensures the membership receives reliable power at a low cost. The market also facilitates the flow of energy from where it is generated to where it is needed.

“Weather patterns and energy consumption vary throughout the Midwest. The market optimizes generation resources to supply everyone as efficiently as possible,” said Great River Energy Chief Power Supply Officer Jon Brekke.

The goal of the MISO energy market is to ensure reliable, least-cost delivered energy. MISO does not own any generation or transmission assets. Instead, it relies on utilities like Great River Energy to build transmission lines and operate power plants to support that goal. According to MISO’s calculations, the exchange of energy and other services through a coordinated energy market provides approximately $3 billion in benefits to the region.

One of Great River Energy’s strategies is to position its portfolio of power supply resources to produce the optimum value for members. That includes strategically purchasing some energy from the market when it is advantageous to do so, while maintaining the proper generation resources to provide reliability and serve members economically in all market conditions.

“Market dynamics change. We need to deliver electricity today, but our larger goal is to supply affordable and increasingly renewable power for decades to come,” said Brekke.