Renewables

The information listed on this page is provided to help members learn more about renewale energy and guide them in interconnecting to the Cooperative's system.  There are many factors to consider when installing a renewable energy source and we encourage members to contact us when weighing options to help them make an informed choice.

A change in state law enabled electric cooperative boards of directors to assume the authority delegated to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) over cooperatives under State Statute Section 216B.164 - Cogeneration and Small Power Production.

The Board of Directors of Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services assumed this authority, through resolution, at its September 26, 2017, Board meeting.  At the same meeting, the Board also established rules consistent with PUC rules (Chapter 7835) for cogeneration and small power production systems interconnected to the Cooperative.  Click here for a PDF of the rules or from the link below.

Please note that Freeborn-Mower Cooperative (FMCS) collects a Distribution Generation Grid Access Fee on new or expanded distributed generation systems (wind, solar, etc.) interconnected to the Cooperative's electric system in accordance with Minnesota Statute 261B.164.  Systems interconnected with PEC prior to May 1, 2016, are not affected unless capacity is added.  Additional capacity will be subject to the fee.

The access fee will be applied monthly at $3.03 per kW for each kW the facility's nameplate is above 3.5 kW to a maximum of $27.00 per month.  For example, a 5 kW system would be charged for only 1.5 kW, which equates to $4.55 per month.  The Cooperative will review the fee annually and provide notice of any changes.  This fee is not intended to discourage development of distributed generation within the FMCS service territory.  It is simply to recover costs for the system, done in a fair and equitable manner.

Distributed Generation Grid Access Fee


Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services is implementing a Distributed Generation Grid Access Fee on new distributed generation systems (wind, solar, etc.) interconnected to the Cooperative’s electric system after April 1, 2016.

For 2017, the fee will be $3.68 per kW, not to exceed $30.00 per month.  The fee will be applied only for distributed generation in excess of 3.5 kW. For example, a 5 kW system would be charged for only 1.5 kW.

The Cooperative will review the fee annually and provide notice of any changes.  The fee results from a 2015 change to Minnesota law authorizing electric  cooperatives and municipal utilities to charge a cost recovery fee on distributed generation facilities.  The fee will not be applied to any distributed generation systems that have an interconnection with FMCS prior to April 1, 2016.  The fee allows electric cooperatives to recover some of the cost shift that had been occurring between distributed generators and the rest of the cooperative membership.  Because distributed generators offset some or all of their energy usage, they no longer pay their fair share to maintain the electric distribution grid that had been recovered in the energy rate.  

The fee is not intended to discourage development of distributed generation within the FMCS service territory. The fee is simply for distribution system cost recovery only, done in a fair and reasonable manner.  For further information regarding distributed generation interconnection, contact: Mike Murtaugh or Al Stadheim at 507-373-6421 or 800-734-6421. 

Evergreen Program

Electric consumers have embraced renewable energy - "green power" - programs throughout the country. Members of the Dairyland Power Cooperative (Dairlyland), like Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services (FMCS), are equally enthusiastic about the Evergreen program, launched in 1998, with several new renewable energy initiatives.

This program was created for electric cooperative members like you. FMCS distributes the renewable energy to participants of theEvergreen program. You can voluntarily support green energy through this program by paying only slightly more than you normally would each month for your electricity. For each 100 kWh block of renewable energy that you sign up for, $1.00 will be added to your monthly electric bill.

What forms of renewable energy make up Evergreen? Read on for an overview of the generation resources that help power your home and business.

WIND & SOLAR

Probably the most well-known type of renewable energy is wind. Dairyland initially invested in wind during the 1990s with a one-third interest in a wind turbine farm in Chandler, Minn. This participation launched the Evergreen program. The Chandler farm continues to provide 2 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, enough to power the homes of nearly 600 members.

Since then, Dairyland has greatly expanded its wind investment. In October 2003, Dairyland contracted for wind energy output from the G. McNeilus Wind Farm (Adams, Minn.) and in March 2004 doubled its participation in the wind farm. This growing partnership nets 16.5 MW of renewable energy - enough to power 4,800 residential homes in the Dairyland cooperative system.

ANIMAL WASTE-TO-ENERGY

Did you know that the average cow yields 12 gallons of manure each day? No longer just a waste problem, that manure can now be used as the resource to generate electricity. Several animal waste-to-energy projects are in development on dairy farms in Dairyland's system. Manure is the resource and methane gas, its byproduct through anaerobic digestion, will be the fuel used to generate renewable energy for you.

LANDFILL GAS-TO-ENERGY

Like the animal manure program, the landfill program literally won't let waste go to waste. Methane, created naturally as landfill waste decomposes, is the fuel used to generate the renewable energy. Dairyland first partnered with ONYX Waste Services, Inc. to purchase methane gas collected at the Seven Mile Creek landfill. Dairyland owns the generating equipment and purchases the gas from ONYX, which owns the landfill. The environmental benefits are significant. Prior to the facility's operation, the energy from the methane gas created by the landfill was wasted, simply burned off into the atmosphere. Now the gas can be harnessed as a "green" energy source. The Seven Mile Creek facility, Eau Claire, Wisc., came online in March 2004 and can power 2,600 homes. During spring 2006, the Central Disposal Landfill, Lake Mills, Iowa, came online. As the newest of Dairyland's landfill gas-to-energy facilities, it produces 4.8 MW and powers 4,000 homes.

HYDROELECTRIC POWER

The Flambeau Hydroelectric Station, located on the Flambeau River, has been quietly generating electricity since 1951. This water-powered, 22 MW generating facility was built at a cost of $6.25 million.

In April 2004, Dairyland Power our Generation and Transmission Cooperative, was awarded a new facility license for the Flambeau Hydro Station by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The license will not expire until Jan. 31, 2037.

As a result of Dairyland’s negotiations with the Wisconsin DNR during the relicensing process, the normal operating mode for Flambeau will be modified. Under the new license, the plant will be operated in the “run of the river” manner to result in the least interruption to normal river flows as possible.

Other environmental enhancements made by Dairyland include improving recreational resources on Lake Flambeau, upgrading the boat landing and providing a handicap-accessible fishing area.

Water from Lake Flambeau, formed by the construction of a 5,200-foot earthen dike and concrete dam, supplies the energy to the power plant’s three turbine generators. The dam, which rises 90 feet above bedrock, includes three large tainter gates that permit the passage of lake water over the concrete barrier for continuation down the Flambeau River.

The Flambeau Hydroelectric Station is located on Lake Flambeau, just five miles northeast of Ladysmith, Wisconsin.

HOW CAN I PARTICIPATE?

You may participate in the Evergreen program by contacting FMCS and completing a sign-up form. Each family that chooses to participate in the program is committing to purchase at least one 100 kilowatt-hour (kWh) block of electricity per month from renewable resources. Of course, you can choose exactly how much environmentally-friendly power you want. Commitment to the Evergreen program is for a minimum of one year.

Sign up now by printing the Evergreen sign-up form. Mail the completed form to Freeborn Mower Cooperative Services, P.O. Box 611, Albert Lea, MN 56007.

For more information on renewable energy, visit Minnesota Renewable Energy.


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