Wellspring Wind Energy FAQ
The Wellspring renewable wind energy program is a voluntary program that offers wind-generated electricity to Co-op members. Electricity provided by wind generation is a coordinated effort between Great River Energy and its 28 distribution cooperatives.
Currently, wind energy for the Wellspring program comes from the Chandler Hills Wind Farm, the Trimont Area Wind Farm and the G. McNeilus Wind Farm. Great River Energy will continue to add new wind resources to the Wellspring program as interest in the renewable energy increases.
How can I participate?
First, to participate in the program, you must be a member Stearns Electric Association. Interested members are asked to make a minimum one-year commitment to buy electricity from the Wellspring renewable wind energy program for a slight added cost.
Is the wind power supplied directly to my home?
No. The electricity generated by the wind turbines is fed into the state’s electric system, called the grid. It is like pouring a pitcher of water into a pond. You can’t get the water from the pitcher back out of the pond. The same holds true for recapturing wind-generated electricity from the grid. It is there, available to use, but to deliver the exact electron generated by the wind turbine is not possible. The wind power that you purchase will replace electricity that would have been generated by conventional fossil fuels.
Do members still receive traditional sources of power?
Yes. Members are not able to distinguish whether the electrons flowing into their homes were generated by wind power or not. But members can be assured their commitment to Wellspring Renewable Wind Energy will result in the construction of new wind generators that will help lessen our reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Participation in the Wellspring program increases the percentage of renewable energy supplied to Cooperative members over and above the state mandated Renewable Energy Standard.
Is the power in members’ homes dependent upon the wind blowing?
No. A member’s power will continue as usual.
Do members get all of their electrical energy from the Wellspring renewable wind energy program?
Members can decide how much wind energy they want to buy (in 100 kilowatt hour blocks). Members can purchase an amount up to their normal monthly consumption. For example: if their normal usage is 800 kilowatt hours/month they can purchase up to eight blocks.
Does wind power cost more?
Yes. Although this project is the most cost-effective “Green Resource” option we have identified, it is still slightly more expensive than conventional electrical energy generating options. The extra cost of wind power will be passed directly through to the consumer. The typical household uses 800 kilowatt hours of energy per month.
When will I be billed for the Wellspring blocks that I purchase?
Wellspring members are billed on a monthly basis.
How does this project affect people who do not subscribe?
This project has no impact on members who do not want to participate. Many members may be satisfied knowing their power is produced by efficient conventional power plants. This project is for individuals who want to utilize renewable energy resources and are willing to pay the extra costs associated with it.
Why is this program being offered?
Cooperative members have indicated a preference for renewable energy options. Renewable energy is a product that individuals want and we are in the business of providing what our members want.