April 2008 - In March, Vision-Ease Lens Worldwide announced that it is purchasing 16 million kWh of Minnesota wind energy for their Ramsey, Minnesota eyeglass lens factory. The purchase is enough to supply 100% of the electricity needs for the Vision-Ease facility for one year and is the largest green energy purchase in Minnesota to date. Vision-Ease is purchasing the wind energy from Connexus Energy, one of 28 member cooperatives distributing electricity supplied by Great River Energy.
News Release - Vision-Ease Lens Takes a Stand on Sustainability
News Article - Ramsey Eyeglass Firm Sets Sights on Wind Energy
March 2001 - Great River Energy announced that it has signed a letter of intent with EnXco and Project Resources Corp. to develop 25 MW of new wind generation in Minnesota. Four megawatts of the total will be constructed near the existing Chandler Hills Wind Farm to serve customers of the utility's Wellspring Wind Energy Program, who choose to pay a small premium to purchase wind energy in 100-kWh blocks. The new projects are expected to be operational within the next year.
News Release - Great River Energy announces region's largest voluntary wind project
January 1999 - On January 1, 1999, Cooperative Power and United Power merged to form Great River Energy. The companies plan to combine their green power programs in 2000.
May 1998 - On Earth Day, Cooperative Power Association (CPA) announced the signing of a 15-year contract with FORAS Energy of Palm Springs, California to develop three 660-kW wind turbines. The wind turbines, scheduled to be operational by the end of 1998, will supply power for the Wellspring Renewable Energy Program.
To date, 13 of CPA's member cooperatives offer the Wellspring product to their customers and will purchase nearly two-thirds of the wind power. Dairyland Power Cooperative and United Power Association will purchase the balance.
News Release - CP Announces Wind Energy Contract on Earth Day
November 1997 - Cooperative Power Association (CPA) has reduced its wind power premium from $3 to $4 per 100-kWh block to $2 per block because of the availability of a state production incentive. Two additional member coops have agreed to participate in CPA's green pricing program, bringing the total number to 11. To date, customers have subscribed for 3,200 blocks. CPA expects a contract to be signed with the wind power provider in January, and that the project will be operational next June.
August 1997 - Nine of Cooperative Power Association's (CPA's)17 member co-ops are participating in CPA's green pricing plan, called Wellspring, which was announced in April. Customers can purchase wind-generated power in blocks of 100 kilowatt-hours for $3 to $4 more per block per month than current electric rates. Will Kaul, CPA's director of generation and transmission services says, "The number one reason for doing this is that customers want it." Kaul noted that CPA will contract for 2 megawatts of new wind power if enough customers sign up for the program. Customers received bill inserts about the program in May.
July 1997 - United Power Association (UPA), a generation and transmission cooperative based in Elk River, Minnesota, is planning to offer a wind power product to its 12 member distribution cooperatives for sale to their customers. The wind power would be sold in 100-kWh blocks in a one-year test program.
UPA is currently negotiating to buy the wind power from Northern States Power (NSP) Company. Some controversy has developed around the proposed program because the power to be purchased will come from wind projects that were mandated by the Minnesota legislature in exchange for approval of additional on-site waste storage at NSP's Prairie Island nuclear plant. Thus, no net additions of renewable resources would result from the UPA green pricing program. Environmental organizations that have criticized some aspects of the UPA proposal include the Clean Water Action Alliance, the Izaak Walton League, and Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
March 1997 - The Cooperative Power Association (CPA), a generating and transmission cooperative that sells wholesale electricity to distribution co-op members in southern and western Minnesota, announced a plan to market wind power. Six of the 17 member co-ops agreed to participate, representing 60% of the co-op's 200,000 customers. Consumers sign up for one or more years. The surcharge for the power has not yet been established but will be between $2 and $4 per month for 100-kWh blocks. The total number of megawatts to be developed will be decided after a subscription program begins in June 1997 following Public Utility Commission approval of the proposed surcharge.