Member Moment: Redwood Electric Cooperative

“Member Moment” highlights one of Great River Energy’s member-owner cooperatives and how it uniquely demonstrates what it means to be a cooperative.

Tucked away in the southwest portion of the state is Clements, Minnesota, home to approximately 115 residents and the headquarters location of Redwood Electric Cooperative (REC), one of Great River Energy’s 28 member-owner cooperatives.

The co-op serves 4,450 members across its territory, including Highwater Ethanol, one of the region’s vital companies. Highwater Ethanol operates 365 days a year making ethanol and selling its biproducts, such as dried distillers grains (a popular feed ingredient for livestock and poultry), to local farmers.

In order to continue providing reliable, affordable electricity to its members, REC recently finished building its Walnut Grove substation and Great River Energy, its wholesale power provider, extended the transmission line that serves the substation. The co-op also looks forward to making a technology upgrade to its substations to better serve members.

Photo by Jill Lehrer by JRae Photography

In addition to providing necessary and important electric service to families, farms and businesses, REC invests in its communities through an Operation Round Up

program that encourages members to roundup their monthly bill to the next dollar. Those extra funds are then pooled to provide financial assistance to local nonprofit organizations. The program also provides educational scholarships each spring to students graduating from high schools located in REC’s service area.

Examples of organizations and projects receiving Operation Round Up funds include: firefighting equipment for volunteer fire departments; lifesaving equipment for ambulance and rescue squads; hospice programs; youth programs; food shelves; and crisis centers. The co-op disburses just under $20,000 each year through Operation Round Up grants and scholarships.