Integrated resource plan gets OK from Minnesota PUC

Courtesy: Great River Energy (GRE)

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) gave the green light to Great River Energy’s integrated resource plan (IRP), which outlines the cooperative’s 2023-37 generation portfolio investments.

The plan is aimed at maintaining costs for GRE’s 27 member-owners, which includes Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric, while significantly increasing the amount of renewable energy. It was unanimously accepted by the commission on March 7, after being submitted more than a year ago.

IRPs serve as strategic roadmaps for utilities, outlining their anticipated electricity generation methods over the next 15 years, with the PUC providing advisory guidance.

GRE’s integrated resource plan outlines its plan to
procure or construct more than 1,200 megawatts of wind
power by 2037.

Under the accepted IRP, Great River Energy plans to procure or construct more than 1,200 megawatts (MW) of wind power, 200 MW of energy storage, and 200 MW of solar energy capacity by 2037. With this trajectory, the cooperative is poised to achieve its 30% carbon-free objective by 2025, with an expected 90% reduction in carbon emissions by 2035 compared to 2005 levels.

Commissioner Joseph Sullivan commended Great River Energy’s efforts and the outcomes contained in the IRP.

“When you look at the high levels, the numbers are quite impressive,” said Sullivan. “You’re going to be reducing carbon emissions by 90% by 2031. If everybody were reducing their carbon emission by 90% by 2031, I would feel a lot better about where the world is going.”

Commissioner John Tuma also praised GRE and its efforts during the IRP process.

“I really appreciate the outreach you did compared to previous IRPs I’ve seen,” said Tuma. “There was a lot of good outreach to your members, the general public and stakeholders. It was a good piece of work.”

The PUC asked Great River Energy to submit its next IRP by April 1, 2026, with an interim update scheduled for 2025. The update will cover expanding solar resources, electric vehicle adoption rates, and updated carbon pricing models.