As the energy industry continues to change, technology is paving the way for innovation in the way energy is used, produced, stored and shared.
Great River Energy (GRE) has reached an agreement in principle with Apex Clean Energy to receive renewable energy from a 400-megawatt (MW) wind energy project in McLean County, North Dakota.
The Discovery Wind project, expected to reach commercial operations in 2025, will be the single largest wind project in North Dakota and will deliver renewable energy over the 436-mile high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission system.
The project will fulfill a significant portion of the renewable energy needs for GRE’s power supply transition and deliver wind energy west of the Twin Cities. The electric cooperative announced in 2020 plans to phase out the remaining coal in its power supply portfolio and more than double its renewable energy.
“We are transforming the way we produce electricity and serve our member- owner cooperatives,” said GRE President and Chief Executive Officer David Saggau. “Our members will enjoy stable wholesale electric rates for years while providing clean and reliable energy to Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin.”
Great River Energy is also converting the coal-based Spiritwood Station power plant located near Jamestown, North Dakota, to be fueled primarily with natural gas and developing a 1-MW, multiday
grid battery in Cambridge, Minnesota.
GRE has long had operations in McLean County through its 1,100-MW Coal Creek Station power plant and the western terminus of the HVDC transmission system. Great River Energy is in the process of selling the power plant and transmission system to Rainbow Energy Center and Nexus Line, respectively. The transactions will be finalized upon approval from GRE member-owner cooperatives and progress toward successful implementation of the Discovery Wind project.
The agreement with Apex Clean Energy comes less than two weeks after Great River Energy announced it secured capacity on the HVDC transmission system for renewable energy development.
Discovery Wind’s location near an existing power plant provides a unique opportunity to interconnect a very large project to the constrained Midwest electric grid.
“The announcement shows our dedication to being partners in clean energy with Great River Energy, and it delivers on verbal promises we made when we first announced our intent to purchase
Coal Creek Station,” said Rainbow Energy Center and Nexus Line President Stacy Tschider. “This is just one of many carbon neutral objectives we intend to fulfill, culminating with the successful implementation of carbon capture and sequestration at Coal Creek Station.”
GRE’s power supply transition has the cooperative on track to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by more than 80% by 2025, achieving Minnesota’s emissions target decades ahead of schedule.
“Working with Great River Energy, Rainbow Energy Center and Nexus Line, not only will we deliver clean power to a major market, but we will be able to use capacity on an existing pathway to do so—a rare and valuable arrangement in the saturated MISO (Midcontinent Independent System Operator) market,” said Apex Clean Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Goodwin. “This innovative solution enables the Discovery Wind project, thereby delivering a multitude of benefits to its North Dakota community, including both preserving and creating critical local jobs.”
Apex Clean Energy was founded with a singular focus: to accelerate the shift to clean energy. For more information about Apex, visit apexcleanenergy.com.
Great River Energy, based in Maple Grove, Minnesota, is a not-for-profit wholesale electric power cooperative that provides electricity to 28 member-owner distribution cooperatives, including Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric. Together, the systems provide power to approximately two-thirds of Minnesota geographically and parts of Wisconsin, serving more than 700,000 families, farms, and business. Learn more at greatriverenergy.com.