The future of energy is uncertain. The most realistic way to plan for the future is to find the right balance of all of our energy sources. Currently, our energy portfolio includes: 55% coal, 32% wind, 10% hydro and 3% other.
Fossil fuels are energy resources that come from the remains of plants and animals. These remains are millions of years old.
Fossil fuels, like coal, oil and natural gas, provide the energy that powers our lifestyles and our economy. Fossil fuels power everything from the planes in the sky to the cars on the road. They heat our homes and light up the night. They're the bedrock on which we base our energy mix.
One of the main uses of fossil fuels is to generate electricity. Coal is the number one fuel source for electric generation, accounting for more than half of all resources used. Natural gas and petroleum also contribute their fair share.
An impressive 32% of CCEC's electricity is generated from wind farms in North Dakota. We, through Minnkota Power Cooperative, receive wind power from four sites: Valley City, Petersburg, Langdon and Ashtabula. Minnkota Power Cooperative's wind portfolio consists of 340 MW of energy from wind. For more information on wind and the Infinity Wind Project, check out Minnkota Power Cooperative's website.
CCEC receives 10% of its energy from hydroelectric facilities through Western Area Power Association. These government-owned facilities are located at various points throughout the mid-section of the USA. Our closest facility is the Garrison Dam on the Missouri River in central North Dakota. There are five generating units at this site with a total capacity of 583.3 MW. Besides being a low-cost source, hydroelectric facilities have no carbon footprint.
CCEC is a partner in a methane generation project at the City of Fargo landfill. The City of Fargo worked with CCEC staff to install a 900 kW Caterpillar Genset that utilizes methane from the landfill. Energy from the generator is distributed back to the electrical grid via CCEC distribution lines and is purchased by our power supplier, Minnkota Power Cooperative. The city captures waste heat from the generator to heat the garbage baling facility. This renewable technology can be applied to large animal confinement facilities too. While the system has great merit, opportunities to increase this area of energy are limited because we have very few methane producing enterprises.
In addition to energy sources, conservation is an active way to save energy and save our future resources. Conservation is something we should all be practicing currently and continue to do in the future.
There is great interest among cooperative members in owning renewable energy systems — mainly wind-powered — for their homes, businesses or farming operations. The question is often asked, “How much money could I save with one of these?” This comprehensive small wind cash flow calculator can help you analyze the economics of investing in a small wind turbine.
CCEC has a net-billing policy for connecting renewable generation to the grid. This renewable fact sheet provides CCEC’s members with all of the information they will need to get started when looking at a renewable generation system. For questions or more information please contact CCEC’s engineering department at 701-356-4400.