Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 20 NO. 4  -  April 2017

See GRE Headquarters, Renewables, More in this year's member tour


We will see how everyday garbage (RDF) is burned to create steam which rotates the turbines to generate electricity. Enough electricity is generated by this plant to power 25,000 homes each year. Accepting household waste from Anoka, Hennepin and Sherburne counties also helps minimize the amount of waste that would normally go into a landfill.

Then, we are off to the GRE headquarters building in Maple Grove, Minn. We will learn about the building's construction and how it received an LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. The tour includes discussion and viewing of the mechanical systems such as the geothermal heat pump system to heat and cool the building, on-site wind generation, solar arrays mounted on the roof as well as on the ground in front of the building and much more within the building.

After the GRE headquarters tour, we will be heading for the Holiday Inn in Otsego, Minn., but not before being lured in by the fishing tackle at Cabela’s. For those hunting and fishing enthusiasts, we’ll drop you off to fish for deals of the day. For those that can resist the luring temptations of Cabela’s, the bus will take you to the Holiday Inn for some rest before dinner. Those wishing to stay at Cabela’s will see awesome displays of animals found in the United States as well as exotic species found in Africa as they roam in their natural environments.

For those who do escape the lures of Cabela’s, you will find safety when loading the bus at 6 p.m. to join the rest of the group for dinner. You’ll have your choice of eating establishments to choose from: The Holiday Inn, Rockwoods Grill and Bar, Sarpino’s Pizzeria or Danny’s, followed by a night on your own.

After a good night's sleep and with bellies full, we will face another fun-filled day as we travel to Elk River Municipal Utilities’ (ERMU) Methane Gas Project north of Elk River. This project converts waste materials to methane gas which in turn creates fuel to produce electricity. Four Caterpillar internal combustion engines generate approximately 25 million kWhs a year. With a resident’s average household usage of 10,000 to 12,000 kWh per year, between 2,000 and 2,500 homes can be supplied with electricity. Since 2002, 341 million kWh have been generated, providing roughly 9 percent of the energy needed for the city of Elk River.

After completing the ERMU tour, we will head back to Bigfork stopping for lunch along the way.

Return to the April 2017 Issue