There are some places in the Midwest where it seems the wind never stops blowing. This abundance makes wind a prime renewable energy resource. At Great River Energy, we purchase the electric output from six wind projects in Minnesota, two in North Dakota and one in Iowa totaling 669 megawatts (MW). In addition, a 166-foot tall, 200-kilowatt wind turbine produces renewable energy for our Platinum LEED-certified headquarters facility in Maple Grove, Minn. The turbine produces approximately 5 percent of the building’s annual energy needs.
Additionally, Great River Energy has signed agreements with subsidiaries of NextEra Energy Resources and Invenergy to receive more than 900 MW of energy from five wind farms located in Minnesota and South Dakota.
The Trimont Area Wind Farm is located in southwestern Minnesota near one of our natural gas-fired peaking plants – Lakefield Junction Station. It’s important to note that only 1 to 2 percent of those 8,900 acres is impacted by the wind farm. The farmland underneath the 67 wind turbines is still used for growing corn and soybeans.
The project is equipped with 67 General Electric (GE Wind) 1.5 MW turbines. Each turbine is 262 feet high at the tower’s hub, from which rotors 254 feet in diameter spin. The total capacity of the 67 turbines is 100 MW of wind energy annually. Iberdrola owns and operates the Trimont Area Wind Farm, and we’ve purchased the output since the wind farm began operations in November 2005.
Prairie Star Wind Farm, built in 2007, is located 15 miles southeast of Austin, Minn. in Mower County. This project site includes approximately 16,000 acres of privately owned land. The land is primarily used to grow corn and soybean crops. Farming proceeds as usual on most of the land around the turbines.
The 61 wind turbines (1.65 MW each) are capable of producing 100 MW of power. The Vesta turbines are 265 feet high at the hub, with 263-foot rotors. Horizon Wind Energy is the owner and developer of Prairie Star Wind Farm. We began purchasing the facilities’ output in January 2008.
The 100-MW Elm Creek Wind Power Project is located near the Trimont Area Wind Farm in Trimont, Minn. Elm Creek provides electricity to more than 29,000 homes served by our member-owner cooperatives. The project encompasses about 9,554 acres of land leased from 56 local corn and soybean farmers. The land continues to be used for corn and soybean farming.
The project is equipped with 66 General Electric (GE Wind) 1.5-MW wind turbines. Each turbine is 384 feet high at the tower’s hub, from which rotors 253 feet in diameter spin. Iberdrola owns and operates the Elm Creek Wind Farm. Great River Energy has purchased the wind farm’s output since it began operations in November 2008.
Great River Energy purchases 51 MW from the Ashtabula II Wind Energy Center in eastern North Dakota, under a 30-year power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy Resources.
Located in Griggs and Steele counties, the Ashtabula II Wind Energy Center consists of 80 1.5-MW GE XLE turbines for a nameplate capacity of 120 MW, of which we purchase 51 MW of output. Great River Energy began receiving power from the facility in August 2010.
Great River Energy purchases 100 MW from the Endeavor I Wind Energy Center in northwest Iowa. Located in Osceola County, the Endeavor I Wind Energy Center consists of 40 2.5-MW Clipper Liberty turbines for a nameplate capacity of 100 MW. We began receiving power from the facility in April 2011 under a 30-year power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy Resources.
The Emmons-Logan wind farm located in south central North Dakota began producing electricity in late December 2019, becoming the largest renewable resource serving Great River Energy’s member-owner cooperatives. The 200-megawatt project will provide carbon-free electricity to members for the next 25 years. The Emmons-Logan wind farm features more than 80 wind turbines owned by NextEra Energy Resources.
We also purchase an additional 18 MW of wind energy from three projects located in Chandler, Minnesota; Dodge Center, Minnesota, and Jackson County, Minn.
A University of Minnesota Extension economic impact study found the Minnesota projects represent an $882 million investment and will contribute nearly $440 million of additional economic activity within the state, including $173.2 million in labor income. They will also support 2,590 jobs across all industries, including direct jobs at the construction sites and ripple effects.
Great River Energy and our member-owner cooperatives offer the popular Wellspring wind energy program. Through the program, customers may choose to buy additional wind energy for a nominal monthly fee. Approximately 5,200 co-op members purchase Wellspring renewable energy. To purchase Wellspring renewable energy, contact your local electric cooperative.
Currently, wind energy for the Wellspring program comes from the Chandler Hills Wind Farm, the Trimont Area Wind Farm and the G. McNeilus Wind Farm.
By participating in the Wellspring program, businesses are able to offset their conventional energy use and take pride in helping promote and expand renewable energy development.