Handling the Heat

June 26, 2024

As temperatures begin to increase across Minnesota, leading to an uptick in demand for electricity to cool homes and businesses, Stearns Electric’s wholesale power provider is prepared to call upon an additional segment of its generation resources to meet this demand.

Great River Energy owns and operates a fleet of modern, flexible and efficient natural gas “peaking station” power plants located at strategic locations throughout the state. These facilities can feed precise amounts of electricity onto the grid when members need it most, including on the hottest days of the year.

“These plants are able to start up in a matter of minutes with the flip of a switch,” said Zac Ruzycki, director of resource planning at Great River Energy. “All of our stations undergo a process of critical maintenance work in springtime so that they are in top form once summer rolls around and when they may be called on.”

Great River Energy has approximately 1,400 megawatts of peaking generation capacity available to provide energy in any amount — from a small boost to the fleet’s full output. Most of the cooperative’s peaking plants are also “dual fuel” facilities, meaning they can operate on fuel oil when natural gas supply is constrained.

When combined with the high availability of wind in the Midwest, peaking plants provide stability today and flexibility for a future with new technologies and opportunities. They also help Great River Energy manage costs for its 27 member-owner cooperatives.

With these assets in place, you can depend on Stearns Electric to provide reliable, affordable electricity throughout all of Minnesota’s seasons.

Photo: Great River Energy’s (GRE) Pleasant Valley Station; photo courtesy of GRE.