Dakota Electric staff and board members provided the cooperative’s annual update on operations and finances at Dakota Electric Association’s Annual Meeting, held in the social hall at St. Michael’s in Farmington on April 25.
President and CEO Greg Miller discussed the company’s strategic plan, technology implementation to serve the members better, reliability efforts and outstanding safety metrics, among other items.
“Our meter replacement program will replace aging meters with modern technology to serve our members even better,” Miller said.
Miller reported that programs in place have improved safety, improved reliability, provided opportunities for members to learn about and test drive electric vehicles and increased solar installations.
“Another accomplishment for 2018 was energizing our second utility scale solar installation,” Miller said. Regarding preparing for another three-megawatt solar project in 2019, he added, “The prices are competitive with our wholesale supply.”
Board Chair David Jones highlighted a prestigious award presented to Dakota Electric from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The Electric Cooperative Purpose Award recognized Dakota Electric out of about 900 cooperative utilities in the nation.
“NRECA recognized our innovative efforts, like bringing the first all-electric school bus to Minnesota and highlighted our remarkable record of community involvement,” Jones said. “We are all deeply honored to receive this award and such a significant recognition stands as a true testimony of our commitment to the community by everyone at Dakota Electric.”
The board authorized the return of more than $3.3 million in capital credits to the membership last December, Jones said. The money that can’t be returned to former members is donated for scholarships and to local school districts for specific educational programs or projects.
Board Treasurer Jim Sheldon gave an overview of the 2018 financials, which received a clean audit opinion from Dakota Electric’s auditor.
Jon Brekke, vice president and chief power supply officer for Great River Energy, brought an update from Dakota Electric’s wholesale power supplier. He discussed the growth of renewable energy at Great River Energy, meeting the state’s renewable energy goal eight years early, reducing CO2 emissions and moving toward 50% renewables by 2030.
“We are adding renewables with a real focus on competitiveness,” Brekke said. “We find that renewable energy is the least cost energy resource for future portfolio energy needs.”
The membership re-elected three incumbent directors and one new director to serve three-year terms: David Jones (incumbent), district 1; Jim Sheldon (incumbent), district 2; Bill Holton (incumbent), district 3; and Stacy Miller, district 4. Stacy Miller ran in district 4 against Greg Oxley and incumbent Paul Trapp, who had served on the board since 2001.