Juhl Energy will break ground in October on an innovative community-based renewable energy facility. The project is one of the first commercially integrated wind-solar hybrid power generation facilities in the nation. All of the electricity produced will be purchased by Lake Region Electric Cooperative and delivered through interconnection with the cooperative’s distribution system at a single rural distribution substation.
As you may remember from discussion at previous membership meetings and newsletter articles, Lake Region has been pursuing a development of this nature for quite some time. We are pleased that these efforts are now coming to fruition.
The hybrid project is located in Trondhjem Township of Otter Tail County. All decisions regarding the siting of the facility and power purchase agreement were made locally by local governing bodies and the cooperative leadership with input from the landowner and neighbors. The project will be owned by a subsidiary of Juhl Energy that includes investors from across Minnesota and the Midwest.
As purchaser of the energy output, Lake Region Electric Cooperative incurs no new debt, construction, or operating costs for the project. This is a distinct advantage for our cooperative. The new 2 MW community-based hybrid facility will provide clean, renewable energy to be utilized locally by Lake Region members. The energy, transmission, and capacity cost savings attributable to purchasing energy from the community-based project help provide rate stability, benefiting all cooperative members.
The hybrid design means that power can be produced when it is most needed by Lake Region. The solar output will provide summer peak energy and the wind will provide winter peak energy. The facility will use new hybrid technology developed by General Electric (GE) to economically blend clean, renewable energy into the distribution power grid at a lower cost, plus enhancing system reliability.
Lake Region Electric Cooperative continues to incorporate new technologies and renewable energy into its electric distribution system. The fact that this project is local and community-based is an advantage to Lake Region. Not only does the hybrid nature of the facility protect our environment, but it also is a major part of our long-range rate stability strategy. It’s exciting to be participating on the cutting edge of this innovative approach to developing renewable electric power.
Juhl Energy is a Minnesota based company. The construction general contractor is Faith Technologies, a Wisconsin based firm that has experience working on renewable energy projects for other Minnesota electric cooperatives. Completion of the project is expected in November 2018.