Some people associate Nodak Electric Cooperative and our wholesale power supplier, Minnkota Power Cooperative, with coal-based energy.
And for good reason. Nodak continues to depend on coal to provide its baseload, 24-7 energy. Baseload energy is needed, after all, to keep homes warm and the lights on when intermittent energy resources such as wind energy are not producing any kilowatt-hours.
We are much more than coal, however. The amount of energy resources coming from baseload-coal declines every time we add a renewable resource. With the addition of 100 megawatts from the Oliver Wind Energy Center near Center, N.D., in late 2016, only about 55 percent of the electric generation capacity mix received by Nodak comes from coal.
Wind energy accounts for about 34 percent and hydroelectric from the Garrison Dam makes up 8 percent of the generation capacity. Other nonrenewable resources total 3 percent. Since hydro is a renewable energy resource as well, about 42 percent of our generation capacity mix comes from renewables.
Not enough for you? There is another alternative. Nodak members can now receive the equivalent of 100 percent of their electricity from renewable resources through the Infinity Renewable Energy Program.
With the program, you can increase the amount of renewable electricity you use without sacrificing your lifestyle or the comfort of your home. By enrolling through Nodak Electric Cooperative, you can choose a designated number of 100 kilowatt-hour blocks, or 100 percent of the electricity used to come from renewable resources. Nodak will allocate the appropriate amount of renewable energy through the program and indicate your purchases on your monthly bill.
While it is not possible to direct where electrons are specifically delivered on the electric grid, it is possible to ensure the renewable energy you have purchased is from a resource connected to your cooperative’s electric system. The record of purchase and the proof that it was reserved for you is done through a renewable energy credit (REC).
As one can see, we have come a long way since Minnkota put up the first commercial-scale wind turbine in the state in 2002. Minnkota and Nodak are among the leaders across the country in wind energy, as evidenced by Minnkota winning the 2010 Wind Cooperative of the Year Award from the U.S. Department of Energy.
At the time, Minnkota and Nodak had wind investments representing more than 30 percent of Minnkota’s total generation capacity.
That number climbed again when Minnkota added the Oliver III wind farm.