CP Announces Wind Energy Contract On Earth Day
EDEN PRAIRIE, MI — April 21, 1998 — Three new giant wind turbines in southwestern Minnesota should generate electricity by the end of the year. Cooperative Power (CP), Eden Prairie, Minn., signed a 15-year contract with FORAS Energy of Palm Springs, Calif., to develop the turbines as part of its Wellspring Renewable Energy Program. FORAS is the world's largest wind power project operations and maintenance provider. Vestas Wind Systems, Denmark, the world's largest manufacturer of wind generating equipment, will manufacture the wind generator equipment for the project.
"We're very excited to announce this agreement on Earth Day," said Will Kaul, CP director of generation and transmission services, who helped initiate the project. "It's the culmination of months of hard work and a significant commitment by our member co-op consumers to purchase renewable energy. It also demonstrates CP's continued commitment to protecting our environment."
CP created the Wellspring Renewable Energy Program to meet the increasing demand for alternative energy sources. CP member co-op customers signed up for more than 3,800 100-kilowatt-hour blocks per month of Wellspring energy before the contract was signed. Consumers participating in Wellspring can purchase wind energy for an additional $2 per month for each 100 kilowatt-hour block, making it the most affordable program of its kind in the country.
The new $2.5 million Wellspring wind generating facility will include three 660-kW wind turbines. Each wind turbine's rotor diameter will measure 47 meters, or over half the length of a football field. The wind turbines will be placed on towers that are 65 meters high.
"The wind project will be located in the service area of Nobles Electric Cooperative, our member co-op based in Worthington," said CP's Tim Seck, project coordinator. Construction is scheduled to start in late summer or early fall, and the wind generators are expected to be operational by the end of the year.
Thirteen CP member cooperatives offer Wellspring energy to their consumers. They include: Agralite Electric Cooperative, Benson; Brown County Rural Electrical Association, Sleepy Eye; Dakota Electric Association, Farmington; Federated Rural Electric Association, Jackson; Frost-BENCO-Wells Electric, Mankato; McLeod Cooperative Power Association, Glencoe; Meeker Cooperative Light & Power, Litchfield; Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative, Jordan; Nobles Cooperative Electric, Worthington; Redwood Electric Cooperative, Clements; Runestone Electric Association, Alexandria; South Central Electric Association, St. James; and Stearns Electric Association, Melrose.
"CP chose wind as the resource to kick off the program because it is the most economical renewable generation in the region, and is easier to incorporate than other options," said Rick Lancaster, CP director of public affairs and marketing.
CP member co-op consumers will purchase nearly two-thirds of the electrical output from the Wellspring project. Dairyland Power Cooperative of LaCrosse, Wis., will purchase one-third of the wind generators' output and United Power Association of Elk River will purchase the balance.
Cooperative Power is a generation and transmission cooperative based in Eden Prairie, Minn., that provides electricity to 17 member distribution cooperatives serving more than 500,000 consumers in west-central and southern Minnesota.
SOURCE: Cooperative Power