We’ve had a flurry of activity since experiencing some major power outages this past summer. Lake Region Electric Cooperative has been working methodically and meticulously with both Great River Energy and Otter Tail Power to address these outage situations and modernize our electric grid. Great River Energy and Otter Tail Power operate the electric transmission facilities while Lake Region is your member-owned electric distribution cooperative. We’re taking an approach of close collaboration and analyzing all aspects of the electric grid serving the Lake Region territory.
Our combined efforts have identified six weak circuits where improvements can, and are, being made. We approached these circuits from the angles of reliability and resiliency. Reliability refers to minimizing the occurrence or likelihood of power outages. Resiliency refers to the ability to quickly bring the power line back into service should an outage occur.
Great River Energy will be spending approximately $14 million in 2019 to strengthen the transmission grid. It will involve a complete rebuild of the Frazee Substation that feeds many of Lake Region’s distribution circuits. Additionally, Great River Energy will construct a new transmission substation, the Schuster Lake Sub, near Perham. This will help strengthen our electrical grid, both in terms of reliability and resiliency, as it will provide more options for routing the flow of electricity.
During the next two years, Lake Region will reinvest approximately $13 million into modernizing our distribution facilities. For everything you see happening out in the community and countryside, please know that an equal amount of thought, planning, and preparation are going on behind the scenes. This is to assure that the reinvestment dollars will be spent wisely and be directed to specific improvements that will return benefits to our cooperative members for many years to come.
On another note, I’m happy to report that our wind-solar hybrid project is moving forward nicely. At the time of this writing, the wind turbine has been erected and the racking for the solar array has been installed. Once the hybrid facility is operational it will supply locally produced renewable energy directly into the Lake Region grid. This will save our cooperative money because the facility’s output will displace electric energy that would otherwise need to be purchased from wholesale suppliers.
Our subsidiary, Lake Region Energy Services, is now entering its second full year in the natural gas business. More than 500 customers have signed up for natural gas service. This is a great start!
I hope that through our monthly communications you feel connected to Lake Region Electric Cooperative in a positive way. Our aim is to supply you with dependable service that adds value to your life. After all, this is your business. You are not just a customer, but a member-owner of this cooperative. For just $24 a month Lake Region provides you with access to the vast world powered by electricity.
This month, as holiday lights sparkle and glow, please take a moment to reflect on how electricity is essential to our lives. May you enjoy all the best this special season!