Electric system stable during January arctic blast - Great River Energy

Electric system stable during January arctic blast

Great River Energy’s employees, power supply and transmission assets, and member demand response resources all contributed to providing reliable and economical service during the January cold weather event.

Great River Energy’s wind resources produced at over 50% capacity for much of the cold spell, selling energy into the market at favorable prices.

Heightened heating demand and supply challenges drove natural gas prices skyward. As a result, Great River Energy offered its peaking plants to the market on fuel oil.

“Our peaking stations were ready for potential grid reliability or extreme market price events,” said Great River Energy Market Strategy & Operations Director Greg Padden. “While the peakers weren’t dispatched much, our dual fuel capabilities, fuel supply arrangements and plant employees were key to keeping them available to MISO during a period of high electric demand and widespread natural gas constraints.”

The region’s grid operator, MISO, was under conservative operations for several days, a precaution that requires member utilities to suspend non-critical maintenance to maximize available resources. Great River Energy closely monitored its transmission system and was prepared to respond if needed.

“Our transmission system performed flawlessly. We did not experience any transmission outages that affected our member-owners.”

— Mark Peterson, Great River Energy’s system operations manager

Great River Energy also strategically dispatched demand response resources to balance market value, reliability and member impacts. By utilizing the interruptible capabilities of participating space heaters, water heaters and other electric devices, Great River Energy can reduce market energy purchases when electricity prices spike. Consumer-members enroll in these programs voluntarily and receive incentives or rate savings from their cooperative to do so.

“The value of our member demand response programs increases as we see the market price of energy rise,” said Jeff Haase, Great River Energy’s director of member services, distributed energy resources and end use strategy. “We aimed to dispatch these programs during the peak periods when electricity demand and market prices were at their highest.”

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