What happens when a single large wind turbine is combined with a commercial scale solar array? For the member-owners of Lake Region Electric Cooperative, the answer is three-fold. First and importantly, this hybrid wind-solar project will be a lower cost energy resource that will help keep your co-op’s electric rates stable and competitive. Not only will it be good for retail rates, but it also adds local, renewable energy to the existing generation sources on which we depend. Third, it will provide additional tax revenue to the county and state.
Looking ahead at least two decades, Lake Region’s board of directors and management team became interested in such a hybrid project because of the economics that it would offer. Our long-range analysis indicates that a project of this nature will have a significant positive impact to the rates our co-op members pay. In fact, at least a $3 million impact towards stabilizing rates in the next 20 years!
A 2.0-megawatt GE wind turbine and 500-kW commercial solar array will be proposed for a site in Otter Tail County. If approved by the township and county, the project will be constructed and owned by Juhl Energy, a Chanhassen, MN based company.
Lake Region Electric Cooperative will enter into a Purchase Power Agreement (PPA) to access the electrical output. This arrangement minimizes the cooperative’s risk. Additionally, LREC will not be borrowing any money towards this project. It’s a “win—win—win” for the county, cooperative members, and Juhl Energy. As a “green energy” project it is also a “win” for the environment. That’s why, through coordination and cooperation with all involved entities, we are actively pursuing this hybrid wind-solar project configuration.
In closing, I want to reiterate that Lake Region focuses on being proactive; devising strategic approaches that strengthen the co-op’s financial position, keep us on the leading edge of the technology curve, and — most importantly — making decisions that benefit our members. This wind-solar hybrid project certainly fits the bill!
Tim Thompson discussed this project in detail at our 2017 Annual Meeting: 2017 Annual Meeting Highlights
Below is the video specifically discussing the hybrid wind-solar project.
Community Based Renewables
Another new venture the co-op is considering is a community based renewable energy project. This local wind, solar, and storage hybrid project is projected to save the co-op money.