As renewable energy expands, reliability remains paramount

As Minnesota relies more on renewable forms of energy such as wind and solar, some members are wondering: Will my power stay reliable?

Great River Energy is a member of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which provides access to a diverse energy market and allows Great River Energy to sell electricity across a wider footprint.

Electric cooperatives depend on electricity around the clock which is why Great River Energy always requires access to diverse power sources.

In addition to a portfolio that includes 10 power plants and hundreds of wind turbines, Great River Energy is a member of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO). MISO coordinates a massive energy market covering 15 states with hundreds of energy sources connected by thousands of miles of transmission. MISO members must follow strict rules to ensure electricity remains reliable.

“Every electric utility in MISO must have the capacity to supply electricity for the periods of highest demand — plus reserves in case of contingencies,” said Great River Energy Vice President and Chief Power Supply Officer Jon Brekke. “Being a member of MISO benefits our cooperative members by providing access to a vast pool of resources that help maintain reliability.”

As the electric system evolves and renewable energy expands, MISO continues to update its reliability requirements. Great River Energy advocates on behalf of cooperative members in MISO’s studies and as the requirements change.