Great River Energy (GRE), our wholesale power supplier, is planning major transformations to its power supply portfolio for the coming years. The outcome will be geared to reduce the cost of wholesale power to the member electric distribution cooperatives, including Lake Region Electric Cooperative. GRE is a not-for-profit electric generation and transmission cooperative headquartered in Maple Grove, MN.
As a result of a reduction in projected wholesale power costs from GRE during 2023, Lake Region will be able to keep its retail rates stable for our local member-owners. Rate stability for our members has been a goal of ours for several years. We’ve only had one rate increase since 2013.
GRE plans to add energy and capacity as needed through upgrades at its fleet of modern, natural gas peaking plants and purchases from the regional energy market. There are five key components of the power restructuring plan.
With a goal of eliminating the use of coal, modifications will be made to the Spiritwood Station to be fueled only by natural gas. The Coal Creek Station is scheduled for retirement in 2022. By the close of 2023, an additional 1,100 MW of wind energy will be purchased. The plan also supports the repowering of the Blue Flint biorefinery with natural gas. The fifth step will be to install a 1 MW, long duration battery system as a demonstration project.
All of these efforts do not, and will not, change our efforts to ensure the reliability of the Lake Region system. Your electric energy is produced from a diverse mix of electric generation resources of varying sizes, locations, and fuel types, each serving a specific purpose within our resource network. Additionally, innovation and smart grid technologies are modernizing, securing, and increasing the resiliency of the electric utility grid.
We recognize electric reliability as a strategic imperative. We use data analytics to guide our decisions and help pinpoint weak spots in the system so specific changes can be made to improve reliability. This results in effective repairs or modifications, while also making appropriate use of the cooperative’s financial resources.
Our Safety Culture
We have been hit hard by storms this summer. I am very thankful for our employees who go above and beyond to restore power safely for our members.
On behalf of our Lake Region employees and directors, I hope that you and your loved ones have been able to successfully cope with the strain brought about by the Covid-19 crisis. Please know that we take very seriously our critical role in keeping power flowing to your homes, farms, industries, and businesses. We are staying vigilant during the crisis by paying attention to social distancing, personal hygiene, cleaning our work environments, and using masks. These have all been incorporated into our culture of safety. Safety, in all its forms, has always been priority #1 as we work to meet your energy needs, today and for the decades to come.