Smart energy use

We use energy wisely

There is a lot more to being an electric co-op than just providing electricity. At Great River Energy (GRETM), we also know the importance of conservation and finding new efficient ways to use energy. We help our members’ member-consumers manage their energy use (also called demand side management) as well as evaluate growing energy demands (also called load management or demand response management).

Learn how you can maximize the value of electricity, without sacrificing your lifestyle or a single degree of comfort.

Visit EnergyWiseMN.com 

 

Check out our Residential Energy Guide to understand how your energy use affects your energy bill.

Efficiency

You may think that conservation and energy efficiency are one and the same. At Great River Energy, we see them as two separate strategies that lead to the same end result – a reduction in your electric usage as well as in your electric bill.
Energy efficiency is using a technology to reduce your energy consumption and save you money. Energy efficiency doesn’t require you to do with less, make slight concessions, or change your life style in some way, but if you do you’ll save even more on your energy bill.

Examples of energy efficiency include:

  • Installing CFLs
  • Installing, programming and using a programmable thermostat
  • Purchasing EnergyStar appliances

Applying energy efficient technologies in your home or business doesn’t have to crimp your lifestyle, but it will help to reduce your energy bills.

Load management

Load management or demand response is a strategy that Great River Energy uses to reduce the demand for electricity during occasional “high demand” periods such as hot summer days. Demand response helps Great River Energy to avoid the building of high-cost peaking plants or the purchase of high-cost energy in the wholesale market. Over 200,000 of our members’ members participate in Great River Energy’s demand response programs through one of our member cooperatives.

The cost of electricity is constantly changing. The kilowatt-hour delivered at dinner time is far more expensive than the one delivered at midnight. Our load management programs exist to take advantage of that cost difference. These programs help members install equipment that stores less expensive off-peak energy as well as controlling appliances to reduce energy consumption during the most expensive hours.

For example, members that participate in the demand response programs are essentially allowing Great River Energy to “control” or “cycle” their air conditioner, water heater or some other load for a period of hours on high demand days, which typically occur on hot summer days. For their inconvenience – which is often not much of an inconvenience at all – the member receives a reduced electric rate from their retail distribution cooperative.

Some examples of our demand response programs include:

  • Cycled air conditioning
  • Peak shave water heating
  • Controlled irrigation

Learn more about our load management programs.

Here’s more about why we conduct load management

Community storage

Utilities and manufacturers are racing to create a battery capable of storing enough electricity to accommodate fluctuations on the electric grid. We believe we have the Midwest’s largest battery, and it is located in the basements of 65,000 Minnesota homes. The humble electric water heater is the centerpiece of a concept we call “community storage.” Similar to community solar projects, our community storage program aggregates controlled residential appliances, such as water heaters, to build local energy-storage capability.

Economic consulting firm, The Brattle Group identified the nation’s 50 million residential electric water heaters as a significant – and vastly underutilized – energy storage resource capable of substantial environmental and cost benefits. Their research shows that storage-enabled water heating could save the consumer as much as $200 annually.

Read The Brattle Group’s report The Hidden Battery: Opportunities in Electric Water Heating

Great River Energy joined National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Peak Load Management Alliance to commission a study and from the National Community Storage Initiative

The Community Storage Initiative (CSI) is focused on collaborative information sharing and coordinated market development efforts in support of wide-scale implementation of energy storage technologies that are commonly located in communities across the country.