My Co-op's Energy Mix
Ensure reliable, economical power supply
Your electricity is produced using a mix of fuels and technologies: coal, natural gas, hydropower, wind and energy efficiency. This allows for flexibility while providing reliable, affordable and responsible electricity.
Our wholesale power supplier, Associated Electric Cooperative, typically uses the lowest-cost resources first to serve member load. Resources include hydropower, coal, wind or natural gas. AECI also looks for opportunities to purchase power from other utilities at a cost that is lower than it can generate.
AECI receives supplemental and peaking power from Southwestern Power Administration, the federal power marketing agency that supplies power from 17 reservoirs across Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri. While hydropower is one of our cheapest resources, it is a limited commodity dependent on rainfall and the capacity of lakes and dams to store the water.
Coal and natural gas
Coal generation historically supplied the bulk of members’ electricity, and continues to play an important role; however, lower natural gas prices have led to increased natural gas generation the last few years. And while supplemental hydropower is the lowest cost source, coal and natural gas typically are less expensive fuels for electricity generation than intermittent wind or solar sources.
In addition, power plants can operate around the clock, respond when wind or solar energy is not available, and do not depend on the ability of storage like wind, water and solar power. As a result, fossil-fuel-based generation is currently the most reliable form of electricity for members.
Rural electric cooperatives took the lead in Missouri wind power when AECI teamed up with Wind Capital Group to bring four wind farms to Missouri totaling 300,000 kilowatts.
Associated’s signing of long-term agreements, as well as its high-voltage transmission system, made these wind farms a reality.
Associated signed two more long-term wind power purchase agreements for 300 MW from BP Wind Energy’s Flat Ridge 2 farm, operational in late 2012; and for 150 MW from Enel Green Power North America’s Osage wind farm in northeast Oklahoma, completed in June 2015.
Locking in long-term, economical fixed-cost wind power helps Associated mitigate expected fuel cost increases. The Kansas and Oklahoma wind farms add geographic diversity to the Missouri wind farms.
Associated then signed power purchase agreements for an additional 471 MW of wind energy in northwest Missouri. The 235-MW Clear Creek wind farm came online in May 2020, and the 236-MW White Cloud came online in December 2020. Today, Associated’s contracted wind energy totals about 1,240 MW of nameplate capacity.
Because it is intermittent, however, wind cannot be relied on to produce electricity during periods of peak demand. Some form of electric generator that can be depended on to produce electricity when it is called for, such as coal or natural gas, backs up wind generators to ensure reliable power for members.
AECI remains open to evaluating economical options for adding power supply to the system. To satisfy electricity demand, we must look at all cost-effective generation resources that are available. In addition, we continue to implement energy efficiency and equipment rebate programs that reduce energy consumption, as well as reduce the need for new electricity plants.