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All tech on deck

Energy transition requires embracing all solutions

As calls to move toward a carbon-free electric grid continue to grow, the utility industry is faced with one of the most significant challenges in its history. Cass County Electric Cooperative continues to advocate for a commonsense approach in making this transition that ensures reliable service to our members and affordable prices for homes, farms, schools and businesses. As this transition moves ahead, it will require many different resources and technology breakthroughs – maybe even some that haven’t been thought of yet. Each utility must take its own path forward and cannot pursue all options at one time. Perhaps most importantly, this energy transition will require collaboration between utilities, states, policymakers, regulators and other key stakeholders on a scale never seen before. Considering the magnitude of the task at hand, it’s important to keep all tech on deck.

Will the nation's grid need renewable resources?

Wind and solar are among the fastest growing resources on America’s electric grid. Minnkota Power Cooperative, your electric cooperative’s wholesale power provider, already receives 34% of its generation capacity from wind (along with another 8% from hydro). As renewable resources continue to expand in the years ahead, it’s important that these resources are supported by a strong supply of baseload resources that can operate when the wind isn’t blowing and the
sun isn’t shining.

Will the nation's electric grid need carbon capture technology?

To maintain the reliability of America’s electric grid, coal and natural gas will need to be used for the foreseeable future. Carbon capture technology is rapidly advancing to significantly lower CO2 emissions from these resources. In fact, Minnkota is currently evaluating Project Tundra, which would equip the Milton R. Young Station with innovative technologies to capture and store carbon emissions from the coal-based power plant – a key resource in meeting your 24/7 energy needs.

Will the nation's electric grid need battery storage technology?

Battery storage is important to a carbon-free grid because it can provide energy when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. This is because battery storage systems can store excess energy generated during periods of high production and then release it during periods of low production. Current lithium-ion technology only provides for 2-4 hours of discharge from the battery. That will need to increase to multiple days for battery storage to begin making a significant impact.

Will the nation's electric grid need nuclear power plants?

Nuclear power plants provide reliable, carbon-free electricity to America’s electric grid. Technological advancements have been made to improve safety, efficiency and waste management. Additionally, new reactor designs like small modular reactors are being developed that are smaller, cheaper and safer than traditional large-scale reactors.

Will the grid need more transmission lines?

There’s no energy transition without transmission. Billions of dollars in new power line development and other grid upgrades are planned across the Upper Midwest over the next decade. That’s only scratching the surface. Significant modernization of the electric grid will be needed to support the expansion of renewable resources and other technologies.


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