In August of last year, we announced that Great River Energy (GRE) entered into a power purchase agreement with Rainbow Energy Center, LLC (Rainbow Energy) for the sale of Coal Creek Station. The terms of the power purchase agreement allow GRE to purchase 1,050 MW of power from Rainbow Energy for approximately two years after the closing of the transaction, followed by a huge reduction, resulting in the purchase of 300 MW for approximately 8 years. That same power purchase agreement allows GRE to exercise an option to purchase up to 68 MW of additional output from Rainbow Energy as part of the original Rainbow Energy transaction. In November of 2021, the GRE board approved this option which was made available to GRE pursuant to the original power purchase agreement between GRE and Rainbow Energy. GRE is now waiting on its all-requirements contract members to vote on this matter. Lake Region Electric Cooperative, an all-requirements contract member, at its November 23, 2021, regular board meeting, voted in favor of GRE exercising the option.
If this option is approved by the GRE all-requirements contract members, then GRE will still purchase 1,050 MW of power from Rainbow Energy until early 2023 after the closing of the transaction. However, exercising this option will bring the total output purchased from Rainbow Energy up to 368 MW starting in mid-2023 for approximately 8.5 years. GRE will stop purchasing output from Rainbow Energy in approximately 9-10 years. Exercising this option provides stable rates and reliability in the event of extreme weather conditions and helps manage risks for GRE’s members. GRE remains committed to renewable energy and has set a goal of 50% renewables by 2030. GRE will proceed with its planned wind projects, including:
- Deuel Harvest Wind Farm: 200 MW, Deuel County, South Dakota, effective 2023
- Buffalo Ridge Wind: 109 MW, Lincoln County, Minnesota, effective 2023
- Dodge County Wind: 259 MW, Dodge and Steele counties in Minnesota, effective 2023
- Three Waters Wind: 280-340 MW (TBD), Jackson County, Minnesota, effective 2024
More than likely, by the time you receive this edition of NewsFlashes, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) will have held a hearing in early January regarding the approval of the Coal Creek Station transaction. In mid-January or so, we will provide updates related to the MPUC hearing on our website, Facebook, and Instagram.
As always, LREC’s outlook will focus on safety, reliability, and rate stability in 2022 and subsequent years. We will take full advantage of new technology to maximize the efficiency of our operations, and continue to take action to increase the engagement and communication with our members, directors, and employees. In addition, your Board for 2022 has budgeted to bring a public electric vehicle (EV) charger into our service territory, conduct a battery/storage pilot program, and purchase an EV to be used regularly by our employees. The EV will allow us to learn firsthand practical information that will make us more informed for our members moving forward in this ever-evolving EV world.
LREC Providing 85 Years of Service
LREC will celebrate its 85th Anniversary later this year! It is amazing to think that the grassroots efforts of the folks motivated to bring electricity to our service territory in 1937 have evolved into LREC having over 28,000 electric member-consumers and having a subsidiary, Lake Region Energy Services (LRES), that recently surpassed the 1,000 gas customer mark! LREC continued to grow in 2021—building electric service to over 420 new service locations. Stay tuned for updates regarding LREC’s 85th anniversary celebration!
District Meetings for Districts 3, 6, and 9
Districts, 3, 6, and 9 will all hold their respective district meetings in February. If you are interested in nominating a director or voting for a member to be nominated as a director, you must attend the meeting in-person. However, a member does not need to attend the meeting in-person to be nominated. We are fortunate to be able to hold the district meetings in-person this year. Please see the details on the first page of this newsletter showing the dates and times of the upcoming district meetings. PLEASE NOTE: all members attending in-person or virtually will receive a $10 bill credit.
LREC Welcomes Representative Jordan Rasmusson and MREA
LREC recently welcomed Representative Jordan Rasmusson, together with Mike Bull and Jenny Glumack of the Minnesota Rural Electric Association (MREA), and they shared their thoughts and ideas on matters that are very important to LREC, including but not limited to, broadband needs in rural areas, pole attachment regulations, and appropriately allocating government funds equitably throughout the state of Minnesota for purposes related to broadband and EV infrastructure. We greatly appreciate our relationships with Representative Rasmusson and the MREA—they provide valuable support to our cooperative at the state level.