June 7, 2018 Read More →

Minnesota’s second-biggest utility plans major renewable energy expansion

The Bismarck Tribune:

Great River Energy aims for 50 percent of its power to come from renewable sources within the next 12 years. A proposed wind farm in south central North Dakota would be a large component of the Minnesota-based cooperative to get there.

The GRE board approved the initiative and announced the new goal Wednesday at its annual meeting. “Great River Energy has already met Minnesota’s 25 percent renewable energy standard eight years ahead of requirements,” Great River Energy President CEO David Saggau said in a statement.

The 50 percent goal also comes with interim renewable energy goals of 30 percent renewable generation capacity by 2020 and 40 percent by 2025.

GRE’s renewable portfolio includes 468 megawatts of wind energy, 50 megawatts of which are produced in North Dakota. Assuming its purchase partner, NextEra Energy Resources, receives the necessary regulatory approvals to build, GRE aims to have 350 megawatts of wind production in the state in 2020 with the addition of the proposed 133-turbine Emmons-Logan wind farm. Success of that project would make it GRE’s largest single source wind power contract.

Wind is the cooperative’s second-largest source of power behind its roughly 1,200 megawatts of coal-fired electric generation capacity from its two North Dakota-based power plants. The proposed wind farm would close the gap between the two generation sources, bringing wind production up to 768 megawatts. It would increase the amount of power produced by GRE in North Dakota to 1,800 megawatts, benefiting the cooperative’s Minnesota- and Wisconsin-based membership.

“Renewable energy, particularly wind, is currently our lowest-cost option for new generation resources,” Saggau said.

More: Power cooperative doubling down on renewables

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