Connexus Energy Members,
Connexus Energy serves our membership by providing cost-competitive, reliable electricity and related services, with an environmental commitment, affirming the value of member cooperative ownership.
Those of you who follow the complex world of wholesale energy markets may be aware that Great River Energy (GRE) called for a vote of its board members to sell Coal Creek Station and a valuable high-voltage transmission line.
Last Thursday, our board passed a unanimous resolution that Connexus Energy would not vote in favor of the proposed sale by Great River Energy to Rainbow Energy Marketing. A PDF copy of the Board resolution is available in the Connexus member portal for your review.
This vote has no impact to our operations, the reliability and safety of our service to you, or our commitment to cooperative values.
In May 2020, GRE represented the proposal to close Coal Creek Station noting that Connexus delivered power supply costs would be reduced by an expected $28M in 2023. Now in July 2021, GRE is seeking approval to sell (not close) Coal Creek Station, significantly reducing savings down to an expected $20M in 2023; a 28.5% reduction in member benefits in that year and beyond.
Regarding grid reliability
Connexus members enjoy excellent grid reliability as benchmarked across national utilities. Moreover, Minnesota-based Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) has been highly successful managing the regional grid and we have faith in their capabilities. MISO did not have the problems that Texas had (a different grid system, called ERCOT) and performed well during both the recent winter vortex and summer hot weather.
MISO manages a regional generation capability with significantly higher resources than recent peak loads and is highly alert and organized in managing reliability during such peak periods. No one power plant assures Minnesota consumers’ power will stay on. Active grid management does.
Regarding Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS)
With respect to Coal Creek Station, there is discussion of separating, capturing, and storing CO2 which, for a large power plant, is millions of tons of annual emissions. Implementation of CCUS, while commendable, is an extremely speculative project, whose financial success depends on Federal 45Q tax credits, while parasitically consuming about 30% of the electricity generated for the process and storage.
The Connexus staff and board have spent considerable time and dedication considering all aspects of this complex sale and the implications for our members. The Connexus Board of Directors finds the decision and approach to sell Coal Creek Station and related transactions have neither fulfilled the savings Connexus expected for its members nor reduced greenhouse gases by enabling the continued operations of that plant.
Members who have additional questions may contact our communications lead, Rob Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org or (763) 218-7656.
Thank you for being a member owner of our cooperative.
Chair, Connexus Energy Board
President and CEO, Connexus Energy