Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric


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Over the next few weeks, Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric will be testing and inspecting power poles in the townships of Meriden, Lemond, Berlin and New Richland.  The inspections will be done Monday through Saturday by RAM Utilities.   This is part of our ongoing maintenance program and should not affect or interrupt your electrical service.  We simply want you to be aware of the inspections and the possibility of people working near our power poles.



Great River Energy well positioned for proposed emissions rule


On June 2, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed guidelines for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants. The long-awaited announcement of the Clean Power Plan confirmed what Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric and its wholesale power provider, Great River Energy, have been anticipating.


“We have been expecting these rules for quite some time, and we have spent years working to reduce emissions while keeping electricity reliable and affordable,” said Great River Energy President and CEO David Saggau.


The proposed Clean Power Plan would establish a nationwide goal to reduce CO2 emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels. To accomplish that goal, the EPA has proposed emissions intensity reduction targets that are unique to each state. Emissions intensity refers to the pounds of CO2 emitted for every megawatt hour of electricity produced. Great River Energy has operations in Minnesota and North Dakota which received emissions reduction goals of 40.6 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively, in the proposed rule.


“The early action we have taken combined with the strategies we have adopted will help meet the national target,” said Saggau.


One significant action taken was the 2010 commercialization of DryFiningTM technology. The first-of-its-kind installation uses thermal energy from a power plant to reduce the moisture content of coal, thereby improving efficiency and reducing emissions. The DryFining technology has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 4 percent from Great River Energy’s largest power plant. The technology is now being tested by Chinese utilities as a possible way to reduce that country’s emissions.


“This is the type of innovative solution that will help the United States achieve the goals of the Clean Power Plan,” said Saggau. “In order to further our impact, however, we need the international community to follow the same emissions reduction path.”


Following President Obama’s June 2013 announcement of the Climate Action Plan, Great River Energy began crafting strategies to limit its exposure to greenhouse gas regulations. The cooperative immediately began accelerating the depreciation of its two coal-fueled power plants to limit the risk of stranded investments and provide more options for those plants in the future.


The November 2014 startup of Great River Energy’s combined heat and power (CHP) plant, Spiritwood Station, will lower North Dakota’s CO2 emissions intensity while making progress toward President Obama’s August 2012 Executive Order calling for 40 gigawatts of new CHP by 2020.


Great River Energy has vowed to meet all future load growth with conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, natural gas and market purchases, while managing carbon dioxide emissions to 2005 levels or lower. The company will implement cost effective opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions now and develop and implement a plan to reduce its dependence on coal by 2028.


Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric and Great River Energy continue to analyze the Clean Power Plan for its possible effects on the reliability and affordability of electricity for cooperative members and the region at large. Cooperatives interact with the larger energy market to ensure their members have a dependable and low-cost supply of energy. 


Great River Energy remains engaged in discussions about the Clean Power Plan by participating in groups like the Coalition for Innovative Climate Solutions and Midwest Power Sector Collaborative. Through these and other organizations, Great River Energy will have the opportunity to influence the final rules through feedback to the EPA and others in order to ensure electricity remains reliable and affordable.


Great River Energy and its national association, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, will submit comments to the EPA on the proposed Clean Power Plan by the Oct. 16 deadline. A final EPA rule is expected in June of 2015, while state implementation plans will be due one year later.




Action Committee for Rural Electrification

Do you want an easy way to stay informed on issues that are important to you and your neighbors? Would you like to play an active role as a community member?  Do you want to have your views heard by your elected officials on issues of importance to both Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric and our member-owners?  Do you want to take part in making sure that your Cooperative’s voice is strong at the state and national level?  Participation in the ACRE® Co-op Owners for Political Action program (COPA) helps Co-op owners like you maintain a grassroots presence, which plays a vital role in promoting the long-term success of electric Cooperatives and the people in the communities they serve. COPA exists to inform electric Cooperative members about legislative developments at both the state and federal levels that could affect you, your community, and your Cooperative.  It helps you have your view heard by elected officials on issues of importance to both the Cooperative and its members. 

It is easy for you to participate and there could not be a more critical time for you to join.  COPA is comprised of Co-op member-owners, from all backgrounds and regions of the country; all who understand that political involvement is a necessary ingredient for success in the political process.  You don’t have to look past the morning headlines to see that energy-related issues are at the forefront of today’s political environment. The legislation and regulations crafted by lawmaker’s impact electric cooperatives and their member-owners.   As a member-owned cooperative, we have a responsibility to provide elected officials with the information they need to make good decisions and effective policy.  You can help make sure these important lines of communication stay open by supporting COPA. It does not take a lot of time or money to be a cooperative advocate.  You may contribute through an addition to your monthly electric bill or by making a single annual contribution.   An online authorization form is available for you to fill out at Enroll today and join the over 300 SWCE member-owners who already participate.  Together we can continue the fight for a viable environment for electric cooperatives and the quality of life they bring to your community. 


Online Customer Update


Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric (SWCE) has become aware of an issue with some customers having problems accessing their SWCE online information.   Our software vender recently did a security update invoking newer and higher level security standards, which may cause an issue for users of older versions of Internet Explorer, or Internet Explorer 11.    They suggest that you try updating to the latest version of Explorer, running the web site in compatibility mode, or using a different browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.    The older versions of Internet Explorer are not compatible with the new higher level security protocols called SSL













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