Great River Energy has been thoughtfully planning and executing the transition of its power supply portfolio for more than a decade. By reducing coal-based energy and more than doubling renewable energy, Great River Energy anticipates that by 2035 its retail electric sales will be provided by a 90% carbon-free power supply in alignment with the Minnesota carbon-free standard, and its power supply will be 90% decarbonized from 2005 levels.
Great River Energy’s current portfolio is a balanced and cost-effective mix with three main components:
- Wind power purchase agreements: Great River Energy has over 1,600 megawatts (MW) of competitive wind contracts as a source of carbon-free energy and a hedge to the wholesale energy market. Most of that wind energy is already on line and the remainder is under development and is expected to be on line in the next 2-3 years.
- Peaking generation: Great River Energy has 1,400 MW of reliable and flexible natural gas peaking capacity in Minnesota. Much of that generating capability is backed up with on-site fuel oil, which is critically important for winter reliability. Great River Energy’s peaking generation operates when called on by the market to provide essential reliability when needed and emits very little carbon dioxide on an annual basis.
- Capacity and energy hedge contract: Great River Energy purchases capacity and an energy hedge from the entity that purchased a coal-based power plant from Great River Energy in 2022. The purchase amount is currently 550 MW and will step down in increments until the contract expires in 2031.
Great River Energy’s portfolio depends on ready access to the electricity market, which plays the essential roles of allowing the free flow of energy across state lines and providing the ability to purchase capacity as needed.
Great River Energy’s position
The power supply decisions Great River Energy has made in recent years put the cooperative in strong position to meet Minnesota’s carbon-free requirements by 2040. Great River Energy will strive to continue serving members with reliable, affordable electricity while meeting the standards in the new law.
About Great River Energy
Great River Energy is a not-for-profit wholesale electric power cooperative which provides electricity to approximately 1.7 million people through its 27 member-owner cooperatives and customers. Through its member-owners and customers, Great River Energy serves two-thirds of Minnesota geographically and parts of Wisconsin.
March 31, 2023