Diversity maintains reliability

Posted on May 06 2021 in Noble REMC
Ron Raypole

Life is a mixture of experiences and relationships. That’s what makes it special — diversity.

Just like life, diversity in electricity is just as important, especially when it comes to our energy portfolio.

Noble REMC cares deeply about how our power is generated now and in the future, as it ensures the reliability of your service. That’s why we’re appreciative of our power supplier, Wabash Valley Power Alliance (WVPA), and its push toward renewable energy and diversity in its portfolio.

Diversity matters because when the sun’s not shining or the wind’s not blowing, we need to continue providing reliable electricity.

It’s no secret electric power companies across the nation rely on coal to power our plants. Many of our power plants were built during a period when the federal government mandated the use of coal through the Fuel Use Act and during the oil wars of the 1970s. 

But we’re learning, evolving and balancing our mix of fuels to be more inclusive of changing technologies that allow more affordable clean electricity.

Over the past 15 years, WVPA has been making decisions and pursuing a path toward more solar, wind and landfill gas options for generating your electricity. (See graphic below.)

Since as early as 2006, WVPA was capturing methane gas from regional landfills to power small turbines to make electricity.

In addition to purchasing electricity from several wind farms and utility-scale solar arrays, WVPA also developed the Co-op Solar program. 

Hopefully you recognize the name from your commutes down State Road 3 in DeKalb County. The 1-megawatt LaOtto Solar Generating Station, near County Road 70, is one of the community solar arrays that feeds the program and the power in your home (and is serviced by yours truly, Noble REMC).

Co-op Solar spans WVPA’s territory in Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, providing power to its 23 distribution cooperatives from a number of smaller, community solar fields.

In creating this program, it has been able to bring solar power to regions where the technology was written off as unprofitable, and you’ve been able to benefit by participating in the program, which provides maintenance-free solar power.

And that’s just the beginning.

WVPA will be purchasing 99 megawatts each from two solar farms in Illinois, which are scheduled to begin producing electricity by the end of October and add to the renewables* slice of the fuel mix pie. (WVPA will not be purchasing the renewable energy certificates that are attached to the farms.)

Also, the Gibson 5 coal facility, a plant we receive power from in southwest Indiana, is scheduled to be retired in 2026, further lowering the coal in our portfolio.

Investing in the diversity of our power generation allows us to keep moving forward in our goal to provide affordable and reliable electricity to you, our members. As technologies evolve, we’ll continue to make decisions that best serve your needs. 

*Wabash Valley Power supports renewable energy by owning landfill gas and solar generation and purchasing the output from wind, solar, and biogas facilities. The environmental attributes associated with this generation are sold separately to third parties, and therefore Wabash Valley Power does not claim the generation as renewable within our own supply portfolio.

WVPA power supply graphic