Great River Energy has reached an agreement in principle with Apex Clean Energy to purchase renewable energy from a 400-megawatt (MW) wind energy project in McLean County, North Dakota.
The Discovery Wind project, expected to reach commercial operations in 2025, will be the single largest wind project in North Dakota and will deliver renewable energy over the 436-mile high-voltage direct-current transmission (HVDC) system.
The project will fulfill a significant portion of the renewable energy needs for Great River Energy’s power supply transition and deliver wind energy directly to the Twin Cities. Great River Energy announced in 2020 plans to phase out the remaining coal in its power supply portfolio and more than double its renewable energy.
“We are transforming the way we produce electricity and serve our member-owner cooperatives,” said Great River Energy President and Chief Executive Officer David Saggau. “Our members will enjoy stable wholesale electric rates for years while providing clean and reliable energy to Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin.”
Great River Energy has long had operations in McLean County through its 1,100-MW Coal Creek Station power plant and the western terminus of the HVDC transmission system. Discovery Wind’s location near an existing power plant provides a unique opportunity to interconnect a large renewable energy project to the Midwest electric grid.
“Working with Great River Energy, Rainbow Energy Center and Nexus Line, not only will we deliver clean power to a major market, but we will be able to use capacity on an existing pathway to do so — a rare and valuable arrangement in the saturated MISO market,” said Apex Clean Energy President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Goodwin. “This innovative solution enables the Discovery Wind project, thereby delivering a multitude of benefits to its North Dakota community, including both preserving and creating critical local jobs.”