At Great River Energy, we’re innovating in the best interest of our member-owner cooperatives, their communities and the Upper Midwest. We remain focused on providing reliable and affordable energy.
We are committed to:
In May 2020, Great River Energy announced plans to transform our portfolio of power supply resources, significantly reducing member-owner wholesale power costs. We plan to phase out remaining coal resources, add significant renewable energy and explore critical grid-scale battery technology.
Coal Creek Station has been the biggest part of Great River Energy’s power supply portfolio for more than 40 years. It has provided excellent reliability and a hedge against energy market prices. However, persistently low natural gas prices and growth of low-cost renewables over the past few years changed wholesale electricity markets to such an extent that Great River Energy began to reevaluate the power plant’s value as a hedge and to explore other power supply options.
Great River Energy is crafting a reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible power supply portfolio by making the following changes in the coming years.
Shut down Coal Creek Station by the end of 2022. Great River Energy is making plans to sell or find new uses for the high-voltage, direct-current (HVDC) transmission system that connects the power plant to Minnesota. The HVDC system will continue to be an essential transmission link between central North Dakota and Minnesota. Great River Energy is open to selling the plant and the HVDC system as a bundle.
To assist local communities during the upcoming transition, Great River Energy plans to make voluntary annual payments of the local government share of Coal Creek Stations’ taxes for five years after the plant’s closure.
Additionally, to assist Coal Creek Station employees with this transition we have provided a 20% increase in their compensation for the remainder of their employment and offering training where appropriate.
Install a 1-megawatt (MW), long-duration battery demonstration system. Great River Energy is working with a battery storage technology developer on a first-of-its-kind demonstration of unique long-duration storage technology. Long-duration storage will help maintain grid reliability in the future during extreme conditions, such as a heat wave or polar vortex. The battery system will be located in Cambridge, Minnesota, and completed in late 2023.
Modify the 99-MW, coal and natural gas-based Spiritwood Station power plant to be fueled by natural gas.
Great River Energy’s energy supply will transform in the coming years, with significant increases in renewable and market energy.
Great River Energy is committed to maintaining sufficient capacity to meet its member load-serving obligation. Great River Energy currently has excess capacity. This capacity length results in less replacement capacity needed upon the shutdown of Coal Creek Station.
Upcoming power supply changes will right-size Great River Energy’s portfolio of accredited capacity with upgrades to its fleet of natural gas peaking plants and new capacity sources.
With these changes our supply resources will be more than 95% carbon dioxide-free.
Our current renewable energy portfolio includes:
Adding wind energy
The Emmons-Logan wind farm began producing electricity in late 2019, becoming the largest renewable resource serving Great River Energy’s member-owner cooperatives. The 200-MW project will provide carbon-free electricity to members for the next 25 years.
The wind farm is the newest addition to Great River Energy’s growing portfolio of renewable resources.
The Emmons-Logan wind farm features more than 80 wind turbines capable of generating enough clean, renewable energy to power 80,000 homes.
Moving forward, we plan to purchase an additional 1,100 MW from new wind energy projects.
The Wellspring program provides businesses and cooperative members with an easy, affordable and meaningful way to support sustainable energy efforts. By participating in the Wellspring program, member owners are able to offset your conventional energy use and take pride in helping promote and expand renewable energy development.
While the electricity that is delivered to your home or business includes increasing amounts of renewable energy, our Wellspring Renewable Wind Energy® program allows sustainability-conscious businesses and residents the option of helping us do even more for the environment.