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Maple Grove Voice

Business Profile: Great River Energy Provides Plenty of Power

Apr 22, 2018 08:36PM ● By Doug Erlien
 Great River Energy provides wholesale electric service to 28 member cooperatives which distribute electricity to nearly 685,000 member consumers in Minnesota. 

“We serve a very geographically diverse area in one state,” Great River Energy Communications Manager Therese LaCanne said. “It really is remarkable.”

With a number of sites in Minnesota and North Dakota, Great River Energy headquarters resides right here in Maple Grove providing power to their customers when they flip the switch.

“As the wholesaler, we generate the electricity at power plants, wind projects and other ways and then transmit it along the high voltage power lines to the co-ops,” LaCanne said. “They then take that energy and distribute it along distributions lines to homes, businesses and farms.”

As the needs of their clients have changed through the years, so has the ways Great River Energy produces their power.

“I can tell you that when people are using air conditioners in southern Minnesota, they probably aren’t in northern Minnesota,” LaCanne said. “You may have a large agricultural operation in the southwest part of the state and then have a cabin that is used on weekends for three months out of the year in lake country. It’s a very diverse membership among our members.”

 The Move to Solar 
Over the last five years in Minnesota there has been growing interest in solar energy. From rooftop to community solar. Wright-Hennepin and a number of our other member cooperatives, will build a solar installation at a site and members can buy into that or what we have are larger solar installations that are part of the overall grid.

“There are really three types of solar and interest in those have been growing over the last three to five years,” LaCanne said.

The Maple Grove headquarters is heated and cooled with a geothermal system. The lake that sits behind Great River Energy contains miles of piping at the bottom of the lake that is used to heat and cool the building.

In addition, the building made of concrete was constructed from ash from a coal plant owned by
 the company that produces fly ash which was used as a replacement for cement and concrete and used for construction purposes including highway projects.

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