Record low temperatures across the Midwest put the electric grid to the test the last week of January. Our wholesale electricity provider, Great River Energy (GRE), carefully operated and monitored the electric system to ensure energy continued to reach homes, farms, and businesses across the state.
Great River Energy’s transmission system, which carries bulk electricity over long distances, proved resilient, even in -50 degree wind chills. “Our system performed great under extreme winter weather conditions thanks to our dedicated employees in the field and system operations,” said Priti Patel, GRE’s vice president and chief transmission officer. “They worked around the clock to keep the grid operating for our member-consumers.”
When the weather drops to such dangerous temperatures, transmission crews shift their focus from routine maintenance to intensely monitoring the grid and fixing issues that arise due to cold temperatures, ice, and wind.
Great River Energy also worked with the regional grid operator, known as the Midcontinent Independent System Operator or MISO, and neighboring utilities to prepare for possible scenarios. On Jan. 30, MISO declared a maximum generation emergency event. By 2 p.m. that day, all available GRE power plants were called upon to operate through the evening. GRE’s Coal Creek Station, and Spiritwood Station power plants, which are designed to run without interruption, operated at full output throughout the extreme cold weather.
Our members depend on a reliable supply of electricity, and we were successful in providing energy through one of the most extreme polar temperatures in recent times.