Watts News
 Published for the members of North Itasca Electric Cooperative
VOL. 24 NO. 6  -  June 2020

CEO Report


It was a real bummer that Mother's Day came and went without a gathering at North Itasca Electric. That is a tradition at North Itasca Electric that I did not want to see missed. Last year we combined the event to include Father's Day also, cooking burgers, brats, and a cool root beer. I cannot wait to see these events rolling again, it is a great opportunity to show our gratitude while we get to visit. Rest assured if you do need an appliance, Roxanne is here for you. Freezers of all types – stand up and chest are a bit of an issue right now. Our suppliers are telling us it could be July or August before we see freezers.

Great River Energy, where we buy our power, has made a HUGE announcement. Coal Creek Station (CCS) will be closing between 2022 and 2023. This was a very difficult decision that made waves in the energy industry. CCS is a 1,151-megawatt coal fired power plant. Many of our members have enjoyed trips out to CCS over the history of the plant. This decision was made in the best interest of Member-Owner cooperatives, and it is expected to result in significant and lasting rate reductions. With these changes, GRE's power supply resources will be more than 95 percent carbon dioxide-free!

GRE has plans to add 1,100 MW of new wind energy purchases by 2023. This amounts to a more than $1.2 billion investment in the Midwest’s abundant clean energy resources. GRE will also benefit from the Midwest regional energy market. Four of the new wind energy projects will be located in southern Minnesota and another wind project will be in South Dakota. The first wind project will come online in 2021. The others will come online the following two years. GRE's renewable capacity is projected to grow from approximately 660 MW in 2020 to more than 1,760 MW by 2023.

I have had questions from friends, "why wind, why now?" GRE has done a great job on our behalf to secure long-term wind contracts ensuring our financial future. The wind generators have become much more reliable and efficient, these changes have opened this door for us.

"What happens when the wind doesn't blow?" I like to fish, anymore it seems like the wind is always blowing, keeping me off my favorite fishing spots. Also, we do not have all our generators in one location. If the wind is not blowing in southern Minnesota, more than likely it is blowing in North or South Dakota. The biggest safety net we have is the MISO market. Anytime we are short on energy, we can purchase from the market. We use our transmission lines to get the power from Canada or all the way down to Louisiana. I encourage you to take a look at a YouTube video "MISO 80 Second Overview," I will be sure to get that posted to North Itasca Electric's Facebook site.

Our cooperative has seen many changes in the past 80 years! I would argue this is one of the biggest we have seen. I look forward to any questions you may have about this or anything else.

Unfortunately, we had to postpone the 80th Annual Meeting of North Itasca Ellectric until further notice. We will hold that meeting just as soon as safely possible. Until then...

By your side, and Miigweech