Lake region wind solar hybrid energy project begins commercial operation
Lake Region Electric Cooperative (LREC) announced that it started to receive commercial energy production from the Juhl Energy wind solar hybrid project this week.
"We're proud to be part of this first of a kind integrated wind solar hybrid project. It's going to bring a lot of value to the local community and a rate benefit for all Lake Region members," stated Tim Thompson, CEO of Lake Region Electric Cooperative.
The Juhl Energy hybrid project has completed the commissioning and interconnection process and the renewable energy production will be purchased by LREC over the next 20 years. LREC incurred no debt in the construction of the project and is expected to save $150 to $200 thousand per year in power costs.
The hybrid project which consists of a single 2.3 MW GE wind turbine and a 500 KW solar array is located in Trondhjem Township near the town of Erhard in Otter Tail County. The project is interconnected directly into a distribution feeder of the rural Erhard Substation. All of the energy output will be utilized locally by LREC members.
The project will use a single General Electric (GE) wind turbine supported by .5 MW of PV solar panels. The wind and solar are combined through GE's Wind Integrated Solar Energy (WISE) technology platform. The innovative system was developed through GE's Global Research Center to directly integrate the solar panels through the wind turbine's converter so both wind and solar share the same balance of plant. This increases system net capacity by 3-4% and annual energy production by up to 10%. Basically, the hybrid design gives the project the ability to produce power when it is most needed by the electric co-op - the solar providing summer peak energy and the wind providing winter peak energy.
"It has taken a lot of work and cooperation but it's great to see our vision and this technology come together in this first of a kind project." We want to thank the many people who were part of this project including; local landowners, the Trondhjen Township and Ottertail County Boards, Juhl Energy, GE, Great River Energy and of course the many LREC employees involved in the project." added CEO Thompson.