Dakota Electric’s wholesale power provider, Great River Energy, recently announced plans to transform its portfolio of power supply resources, reducing Dakota Electric’s wholesale power costs by over 10% in the coming years.
Great River Energy plans to phase out remaining coal resources and add renewable energy in Minnesota — starting with plans to retire the 1,151-megawatt (MW) Coal Creek Station power plant in the second half of 2022. Great River also plans to modify the 99-MW coal and natural gas plant in Spiritwood, N.D., to be fueled primarily on natural gas by the end of 2022. As a result, Great River Energy’s power supply resources will be more than 95% carbon dioxide free.
In-depth analysis over the past few months has continued to support the economic case for shutdown. This decision was made in the best interest of memberowner cooperatives, like Dakota Electric, and will reduce Great River Energy’s costs, saving money for Dakota Electric’s membership over the long term.
“We are building a power supply portfolio that will serve our member-owner cooperatives for decades,” Great River Energy President and Chief Executive Officer David Saggau said.
Great River Energy plans to purchase more than 1,100 MW from new wind energy projects, increasing their renewable capacity from approximately 660 MW in 2020 to more than 1,760 MW by the end of 2023. In May, the Great River Energy board of directors approved 600 MW of wind energy projects, most located in Minnesota. To provide continuous electricity, the cooperative plans to upgrade its fleet of gas-fired power generators and increase purchases from the wholesale energy market.
The announcement follows several changes Great River Energy made in recent years to seek economic efficiencies in its power supply portfolio. Past analysis led to decisions to exit a contract for half the output of a Wisconsin coal plant in 2015, retire the coal-based Stanton Station power plant in 2017, close the waste-to-energy Elk River Resource Recovery Project in 2019 and purchase the output of several wind energy projects.
Dakota Electric’s goal is to provide reliable and affordable electricity, while being responsible stewards of the environment. We are excited to see what our future holds over the next few years.