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Buffalo Coulee

South of Grand Forks, just off Interstate 29, sit two quonsets that house unique slabs of lumber. Jared Johnson and Matt Weaver have built a business around transforming these planks into pieces of art. The duo’s dream started in spring 2016 with the purchase of an early 1900s Howell Model 0 circular sawmill. A little over a year later, Buffalo Coulee Wood Products had its first load of live-edge slabs come through the door.

The small business on the prairie has made big strides each year. One of the quonsets, which now serves as their showroom, is filled with milled tree slabs of red cedar, oak, red mulberry, Osage orange and sycamore. The live-edge slab and rough lumber comes from states as far as North Carolina and Kansas. Johnson and Weaver, who are both certified arborists, have also found beautiful oak and cedar trees in the Dakotas and Minnesota.

For woodworking hobbyists, designers and furniture makers, Buffalo Coulee is the place to find the perfect rough-cut hardwood for those unique projects. These live-edge slabs have a unique inner woodgrain pattern that makes each slab distinctively different. A multitude of design ideas fl ow when looking at each slab. The lumber is used for high-end tables, bar tops, accent walls or even building out the perfect man cave.

The future is bright for Buffalo Coulee, as plans are in the works to use the lumber to produce custom-made tables, shelves and kitchen tables, just to name a few ideas. Th e up-and-coming business, which is a Nodak Electric Cooperative member, also has plans to be a full-time sawmill and lumber provider.

For more information, call 218-791-1927 or check them out on the web at or on Facebook at

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Trip Of A Lifetime

When thinking about experiencing our nation’s capital in a fantastic way, the electric cooperative youth tour is the way to go. It’s a remarkable trip with many opportunities to learn about our local electric cooperatives and our nation’s history.

While in D.C., we visited many historical sights such as the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the World War II Memorial. We also had the opportunity to visit many museums, including the Holocaust museum, Smithsonian museums and the Newseum. When we weren’t touring a museum, we were enjoying a ferris wheel ride at the National Harbor or meeting with our state’s congressmen at the Capitol. One evening after exploring downtown Alexandria, we, along with Georgia, enjoyed a water boat cruise down the Potomac River. This was one of the moments we got to know each other. On Capitol Hill day, we had the opportunity to meet with Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven to discuss the inner workings of our nation’s government.

One of the most memorable and rewarding parts of the trip were the friendships we formed. On the first day of the trip, all of us were quite shy and nervous, but by the seventh day we had formed friendships that would last a lifetime.

When I think of a “trip of a lifetime,” the electric cooperative youth tour fits the profile. I owe extreme thanks to Nodak Electric Cooperative for the remarkable experience at our nation’s capital.

High school sophomores and juniors can apply today for the 2019 Youth Tour. Learn more here. 

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Fuel Prices Could Affect Load Control

Slightly higher wholesale market prices, in particular propane, entering the heating season could impact the number of load control hours for Nodak Electric Cooperative off-peak members in winter 2018-19. Minnkota is Nodak Electric’s wholesale power supplier.

“As those prices go up, the market follows those trends, and you see more control,” said Todd Sailer, Minnkota Power Cooperative senior manager of power supply and resource planning.

Sailer said Minnkota, your cooperative’s wholesale energy supplier, estimates 200 to 250 hours of dual-heat load control this winter. This compares to the 10-year average of 170 hours.

Last year’s total of 60 control hours shows that moderate temperatures and low market conditions can combine to result in a small amount of control hours.

Other than the natural gas and propane prices inching up, Minnkota’s demand response outlook is similar to the 2017-18 forecast. The unknown is possible forced outages at Minnkota and elsewhere in the wholesale energy market.

“Market price volatility is driven by fuel prices, weather and generator outages. These events drive the majority of the control hours,” Sailer said.

Minnkota has the ability to control up to 350 megawatts through its demand response system. This includes dual-fuel systems, temporarily controlling storage heating systems, large-capacity water heaters, home vehicle chargers and large industrial consumers with backup generators. Millions of dollars have been saved due to the successful operation of Minnkota’s load management system for about 40 years.

Two outages could have an impact on the number of load control hours. Unit 1 of the Milton R. Young Station is offline until early November after a major outage was extended for damage discovered during the outage. Also, Coyote Station has an outage scheduled to begin March 29 and last into May.

“Any time you have a generator out, you’re exposed more to the market,” Sailer said. “Right now we have some scheduled outages for the first part of November and then again in the spring. We typically do not schedule maintenance in the January and February time frame when we’re at peak conditions. That’s where the unplanned or forced outages come into play.”

During outages and periods of peak electric demand, Minnkota’s first option is to purchase energy from the power market. If the timing is not right and affordable power is not available, off-peak loads are temporarily controlled. The savings are passed on to retail consumers through the lower off-peak heating rate.

“Controlling load during these periods protects consumers from the volatility of the market and prevents the need to build new power plants just to serve peak loads,” Sailer said.

An off-peak system consists of an electric heating source as its primary component. A supplemental heating source must operate several hundred hours or more during the winter season. Sailer said members with a well-maintained backup heating system should not notice a difference in comfort level when their off-peak heating system is controlled.

Incentives for heating, charging equipment

As part of its Value of Electricity campaign, Minnkota works with its member cooperatives and participating municipals to offer incentives for the installation of electric heating, water heating and charging equipment.

A recent addition is incentives for the installation of electric vehicle charging equipment on the off-peak program. It calls for a $50 per kilowatt rebate for Level 2 chargers that are 240 volts. The maximum rebate is $500.

“One of the things that is new to our program that we’re really promoting is the electrical vehicles,” Sailer said. “We see it as a benefit for the consumer and the co-ops. It’s just another good load in our demand response program.”

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Nodak Electric Cooperative

Nodak Electric Cooperative is dedicated to being an efficient provider of quality electric service with leadership that demonstrates the highest regard for its members/owners.

To report an outage call
800-732-4373 or 701-746-4461

Nov/Dec 2018

The Official Publication of Nodak Electric Cooperative

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