Big Rivers joined MISO in December 2009 and become fully integrated December 1, 2010.
MISO is an independent, nonprofit organization that supports the reliable delivery of electricity in 13 U.S. states. This ensures the reliable operation of the regions’s interconnected high voltage power lines that support the transmission of more than 100,000 MW of energy in the Midwest.
MISO was approved as the nation’s first regional transmission organization (RTO) in 2001. The organization is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana with operations centers in Carmel and St. Paul, Minnesota.
Big Rivers has been a member/owner of ACES, one of the nation’s largest electricity traders, since January 2003. ACES operates as an energy risk management and hedge manager. Member/owners like Big Rivers actively participate by utilizing the ACES infrastructure and resources to assess their risks and execute specific, customized portfolio strategies.
A portion of the power delivered to member cooperatives by Big Rivers is produced by hydroelectric dams operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Big Rivers contracts 178 MW from the Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA) which markets power from the dams. This is another example of the commitment of Big Rivers to deliver renewable energy and also to diversify its supply to better protect the interests of the member cooperatives.
Renewable Energy Program
Big Rivers is well positioned in the national renewable energy movement. Power supplies of the future will include a growing emphasis on renewable energy as these sources gain more attention, popularity, and viability.
In the tradition of working together, cooperatives across the country have formed the National Renewables Cooperative Organization (NRCO) to promote and facilitate the development of renewable energy resources. Membership in the NRCO is open to generation and transmission cooperatives (G&Ts) and distribution cooperatives with the legal ability to buy power in the wholesale market. Big Rivers was one of 24 founding members of the organization, which formed in November 2008.
The NRCO will allow cooperatives to pool their expertise so that the knowledge base of cooperatives with experience in developing renewable energy will be available to all. At the outset, the NRCO will serve in a consulting capacity, evaluating renewable resource opportunities, facilitating participation in renewable energy projects and assist in creating optimal arrangements for members like Big Rivers.
The NRCO will also assist cooperatives in the on-going management of renewable resources.
Locally, Big Rivers began making renewable energy available to the member cooperatives in 2007 through a program called EnviroWatts. This program supports operation and production of energy generated from renewable resources in western Kentucky. Retail members of Big Rivers’ member cooperatives may buy this environmentally friendly power in 100 kWh blocks.
Big Rivers continues to evaluate renewable energy sources along with the regulatory and legislative efforts that impact development of additional sources of generation.