New Projects, Renewables

Great River Energy announces region’s largest voluntary wind project

ELK RIVER, Minn., March 22, 2001 (PRNewswire) — Great River Energy will significantly expand its renewables portfolio by adding 21 megawatts of new wind generation within the next year, making it the largest voluntary wind project in the region. The Minnesota generation and transmission cooperative has signed a letter of intent with enXco, a wind developer based in Palm Springs, Calif. and Project Resources Corp. (PRC) a wind developer based in Minneapolis, Minn. who will build the project. Great River Energy will purchase all of the energy from the project under a long-term contract.

“I believe this proposed wind project would be the largest voluntary wind project in the region,” said John Dunlop, Great Plains Director of the American Wind Energy Association. All other wind energy development in the region has occurred as the result of public policy requirements.

“Great River Energy is a member-owned cooperative and its members have expressed a growing interest in adding renewables to our generation mix,” said Rick Lancaster, vice president of public affairs. “This single wind project will generate enough energy to meet the needs of approximately 8,000 homes.”

The proposed site for the project is in southwestern Minnesota on the Buffalo Ridge, but other sites are being considered as well due to transmission considerations. Paul White, president of Project Resources Corporation, said the project is scheduled to be constructed and operational within the next year. The anticipated cost of the wind project is approximately $21 million.

Michael Noble, Executive Director of Minnesotans for an Energy Efficient Economy (ME3) applauded Great River Energy for adding more wind energy to its resource mix. “Every survey we’ve seen tells us it’s what Minnesotans want and we’re glad Great River Energy is listening.”

In addition, for customers who choose to purchase most or all of their electricity from wind energy, Great River Energy is also expanding its popular Wellspring Wind Energy Program with an additional four megawatts of wind energy to be constructed near the cooperative’s existing Chandler Hills Wind Farm. Through the program, customers may choose to buy additional wind energy in 100-kWh blocks for a nominal monthly fee. This four megawatt wind project will also be developed by enXco and PRC.

At the completion of these two wind projects, Great River Energy will have a total of 27 megawatts of wind energy serving member and non-member needs.

Headquartered in Elk River, Minn., Great River Energy is a generation and transmission cooperative that provides electric energy and related services to 29 distribution cooperatives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Great River Energy is the second largest utility in Minnesota serving nearly 1.4 million people. It is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative.

SOURCE: Great River Energy