Celebrate Earth Day, Add "Green" To Your Power
Members can celebrate Earth Day all year by purchasing Green Power through Cuivre River's power supply network. You can order by Earth Day, April 22, and secure a portion of the wind power generated in our region for delivery to the power grid for you over the next 12 months.
As Cuivre River's Green Power program marks its 10th anniversary, Manager of Member Services Kevin Hurd reflects on today's dynamic renewable energy marketplace. "When we began 10 years ago, affordable options to support renewable energy were very limited," he says. "Opportunities in the private marketplace have broadened considerably," he adds. Yet Cuivre River's program, one of the first in the state 10 years ago, remains one of the largest in the state today.
Power supplier Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AECI) continues to add renewable resources to its energy mix. Hurd believes Cuivre River members who first purchased Green Power 10 years ago helped influence the renewable energy program.
"For an extra 2.5¢ per kilowatt-hour, (kwh) our Green Power program remains a very affordable opportunity to purchase wind power with no investment, simply a 12-month commitment," he says. Members can order blocks of 100 kwhs of electricity generated by wind farms in our region.
"We're pleased to offer renewable energy, but it comes at a higher price," says Hurd. A single 100 kwh block costs an extra $30/year. "We give members a choice," says Hurd, "and work to keep our wholesale power costs as low as possible for all of our members."
Members now purchase 39,600 kwhs of Green Power each month, representing annual sales of 475,200 kwhs. Hurd notes that participation has dropped about 1% in the past quarter, as members' needs for affordable energy trump the added cost. Many have also made great strides in improving home energy efficiency, seeking to reduce energy and capture the "greenest" kwhs - the ones they save.
Cooperative suppliers have access to 600 megawatts (MW) of wind energy through AECI's exclusive rights to purchase the energy output of the majority of turbines constructed on wind farms in northwest Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas. AECI also continues to look for new opportunities to provide additional affordable options, including solar, to meet members' needs.
"We're often asked why Green Power is more expensive," Hurd continues. A key reason: most renewable resources — especially large scale wind and solar energy applications — are not available on demand. They are more difficult and costly to convert into electricity for delivery to the power grid. In addition, power generated by these types of facilities must be backed by other generation resources to maintain a steady, reliable power supply.
Although all kwhs look the same once they enter the transmission network, when Cuivre River members purchase Green Power, energy from renewable resources is delivered to the utility grid for them.
"We cannot guarantee that electrons which leave a wind farm are delivered to your meter. We can guarantee that the amount you order will be delivered onto our power grid for you," says Hurd.
Members who wish to participate in open enrollment should place orders by April 22. Suppliers require three months' advance notice. New participants will begin receiving their Green Power July 1, and for the next 12 months. The extra cost, $2.50 per 100 kwh block, will begin to appear on your July or August electric bill. Multiple blocks are available.
"Renewable energy enthusiasts who are interested in generating their own renewable energy face much higher costs," says Hurd, though they do receive credit for any excess power they deliver to the grid. Cuivre River does not provide rebates or incentives for solar and wind projects, but does provide information about net metering and Missouri's Easy Connect Act.
To enroll in Cuivre River's Green Power program call Hurd at 800.392.3709, ext. 231, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For general information about renewable energy, visit www.dnr.mo.gov/energy. For a copy of Cuivre River's guidelines to connect private residential wind or solar energy projects to the utility grid, contact Hurd.
Wind farms generating power for cooperatives include:
Conception, 50 MW, Nodaway County, Mo., 7,000 acres
Blue Grass Ridge, 50 MW, Gentry County, Mo., 10,000 acres
Cow Branch, 50 MW, Atchison County, Mo., 7,000 acres
Lost Creek, 150 MW, DeKalb County, Mo., 20,000 acres
Flat Ridge 2, 300 MW, Kiowa, Kansas, 66,000 acres
Osage, 150 MW, Osage County, Ok., 8,500 acres (Projected to open 2014)
Current capacity: 600 MW
Total acreage: 110,000