Great River Energy

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The NEG Micon M700 wind turbine at the Great River Energy headquarters in Maple Grove

Great River Energy is an electric transmission and generation cooperative in the U.S. state of Minnesota; it is the state's second largest electric utility, based on generating capacity, and the fifth largest generation and transmission cooperative in the U.S. in terms of assets. Great River Energy was formed in 1999 when Cooperative Power Association and United Power Association merged.

Great River Energy owns or co-owns more than 100 energy transmission substations[1] in the region. The company's system also includes more than 500 distribution substations. Great River Energy is a not-for-profit cooperative that provides wholesale electricity to more than 1.7 million people through 28 member distribution cooperatives in Minnesota, covering roughly 60 percent of the state. The company also owns transmission lines in North Dakota and Wisconsin.

Company headquarters[edit]

Great River Energy's headquarters are located in Maple Grove, Minnesota. The facility includes a 160-foot-tall (49 m), 200 kilowatt NEG Micon M700 wind turbine (visible from Interstate 94), and a 72-kilowatt solar array at ground level and on the rooftop. The building uses approximately half the energy of similar-sized buildings constructed using standard construction techniques, 40 percent less electricity for lighting and 90 percent less water than standard corporate campuses.[2][3] The company has occupied the Maple Grove facility since April 2008. In October 2008, the headquarters building became the first building in Minnesota to attain LEED Platinum certification.[4]

Transmission operations[edit]

Great River Energy’s transmission system is part of an overall regional transmission grid, operated on a coordinated basis in accordance with the Minnesota Electric Transmission Planning group.[5] Regional grid operations were expanded in 2002 with the formation of the MISO, an independent, nonprofit organization that supports the reliable operation of the transmission system in 15 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. MISO acts as the Regional Transmission Organization, overseeing the operations, planning, and improvements of the wholesale bulk electric transmission system in the upper Midwest. With its administration of a centralized energy market, Midwest ISO's stated goal is to ensure that the growing demand for power is served in an efficient and effective manner.[6]

CapX2020 project[edit]

CapX 2020 power line in Onalaska, Wisconsin

Great River Energy is one of 11 Midwestern transmission-owning utilities participating in CapX2020,[7] an initiative that seeks to expand the region's electricity transmission grid. The initiative was created in response to studies that predict a significant increase in consumer demand for electricity by the year 2020.

Electric Plants[edit]


Generating electricity since 1979; this station is North Dakotas largest, producing 1,100 megawatts of electricity, & using 7.5 to 8.0 million tons of beneficiated lignite per year, which it gets from the Falkirk Mine located near the plant.
  • Spiritwood Station - Located near Spiritwood, North Dakota was completed in 2012. Went commercial on 11-1-2014. It is a combined heat and power plant which produces steam for sale to local industries and electricity.
  • Stanton Station - Located near Stanton, North Dakota
Generating electricity since 1966, it produces 189 megawatts of electricity, and uses 850,000 tons of sub-bituminous coal from the Powder River Basin per year.


Natural Gas / Oil Peaking Plants[edit]



  • Great River Energy Great River Energy has 650 kilowatts of solar energy installations, including a 250 kW solar array at its Maple Grove, Minn. headquarters facility. The array includes a mix of technologies to help determine how solar energy installations can be integrated into cooperative systems.


  • When needed, Great River Energy also purchases electricity from other electric producers through its membership in the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, known as the Midcontinent Independent System Operator.[8]


In 2010, Great River Energy led a team that was awarded with Power Engineering magazine’s 2010 Coal-Fired Project of the Year. The project, “DryFining,” created a new technology for coal-firing power plants that improves fuel quality, decreases volatile gas emissions, and reduces a plant’s operating expenses and maintenance costs. The team also included fluid bed dryer engineer Heyl & Patterson Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, Lehigh University’s Energy Research Center, the Electric Power Research Institute and engineering construction contractor WorleyParsons.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sun-Net Consulting:
  2. ^ "Great River's new headquarters 'LEEDs' by example". Reliable Energy Solutions. Retrieved 2008-11-01. 
  3. ^ Levy, Paul (2007-11-27). "An energy model for all to see". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  4. ^ "Great River Energy, Proximity Hotel Awarded LEED Platinum Ratings". GreenerBuildings. 2008-10-15. Archived from the original on October 17, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  5. ^ Minnesota Electric Transmission Planning:
  6. ^ Midwest ISO:
  7. ^ CapX2020:>
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Power Engineering Names Projects of the Year". Power-Gen Worldwide. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°05′39″N 93°26′10″W / 45.094276°N 93.436164°W / 45.094276; -93.436164