Great River Energy has reduced its system-wide carbon dioxide emissions by 38 percent since 2005.
These reductions have been achieved voluntarily while providing economic benefits to members. They are the result of prudent investments in renewables, reducing dependence on coal and improving the diversity and competitiveness of Great River Energy’s resource portfolio.
Cooperative self-governance has been proven to spur renewable energy growth and reduce emissions. State renewable mandates are unnecessary and could cause unintended cost hikes to local electric bills.
Great River Energy achieved Minnesota’s renewable energy standard of 25 percent renewables in 2017 – eight years earlier than the state requirement. The following year, it established a voluntary goal of 50 percent renewables.
“A grassroots goal, such as our 50 percent renewables by 2030, provides flexibility to evolve our portfolio on a schedule and at prices that work best for our membership,” said Great River Energy Vice President and Chief Power Supply Officer Jon Brekke. “We see significant opportunities for more renewable energy in our future, but we are opposed to increased mandates that would ultimately shift pricing power from rural consumers to for-profit developers.”
Great River Energy opposes current proposals which call for new mandates for renewable energy and carbon-free electricity.
Learning as we go
Great River Energy believes energy policies should consider potential impacts on the cost and reliability of electricity, in addition to environmental outcomes. Reliability concerns are especially important in Minnesota, where weather extremes can stress the electric grid for longer periods of time.
For instance, Great River Energy’s power plants played a critical role in ensuring electric system reliability during the coldest part of the January polar vortex when there was very little wind energy available.
Electric utilities on track
According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s January 2019 report entitled “Greenhouse gas emissions in Minnesota: 1990-2016,” the electric utility sector is the only sector on track to achieve state goals for emission reductions.