Contract change recognizes growing interest and opportunities for local renewable energy
Most of Great River Energy’s member-owner cooperatives now have an increased opportunity to self-supply renewable energy following the approval of an amendment to their wholesale power contracts.
What was previously an option for members that receive all their wholesale power from Great River Energy to provide up to 5% of their energy needs with local renewable resources is now 10% after a proposal developed through a collaborative effort was finalized.
The provision was originally added several years ago to provide eligible members with an option to diversify their power supply with local renewables as interest in the technology started to grow.
Since that time, renewable energy has continued to grow and Minnesota state policies favor resources that do not emit carbon dioxide. The state’s carbon-free standard requires that 90% of electric utilities’ retail sales be provided by carbon-free power supply by 2035.
“The recent change allows eligible cooperatives that want to pursue renewable self-supply options to do so without shifting their share of costs or placing an undue financial hardship on those cooperatives that have different priorities or perhaps do not have similar opportunities,” said Anya Vanumu, director of member resources, rates and contracts at Great River Energy.
Great River Energy’s member-owner cooperatives have pursued several renewable energy projects to support their local distribution systems. Lake Region Electric Cooperative, for example, installed a 2-megawatt wind-solar hybrid project that provides a real-world example of innovative new ways to provide electricity and was made possible due to the self-supply option. Dakota Electric Association, based in Farmington, has developed four solar projects that collectively generate more than 10 million kilowatt-hours of electricity every year.
The expanded flexibility in these member-owners’ wholesale power contracts opens the door to new renewable projects that offer local resiliency, reliability and affordability.