Energy Sources & Environment
The future of energy is uncertain. The most realistic way to plan for the future is to find the right balance of all of our energy sources. Though the numbers fluctuate slightly over time, Cass County Electric Cooperative utilizes an energy portfolio consisting of 59 percent coal, 29 percent wind, 9 percent hydro, and 3 percent other.
Fossil fuels are energy resources that come from the remains of plants and animals. These remains are millions of years old.
Fossil fuels, like coal, oil and natural gas, provide the energy that powers our lifestyles and our economy. Fossil fuels power everything from the planes in the sky to the cars on the road. They heat our homes and light up the night. They're the bedrock on which we base our energy mix.
One of the main uses of fossil fuels is to generate electricity. Coal is the number one fuel source for electric generation, accounting for more than half of all resources used. Natural gas and petroleum also contribute their fair share.
An impressive 32 percent of CCEC's electricity generating capacity is from wind farms in North Dakota. We, through Minnkota Power Cooperative, receive wind power from four sites: Valley City, Petersburg, Langdon and Ashtabula. Minnkota Power Cooperative's wind portfolio consists of 340 MW of energy from wind. For more information on wind and the Infinity Wind Project, check out Minnkota Power Cooperative's website.
10 percent of CCEC's electricity generating capacity comes from hydroelectric facilities through Western Area Power Association. These government-owned facilities are located at various points throughout the mid-section of the USA. Our closest facility is the Garrison Dam on the Missouri River in central North Dakota. There are five generating units at this site with a total capacity of 583.3 MW. Besides being a low-cost source, hydroelectric facilities have no carbon footprint.
The newest addition to CCEC's energy mix is Prairie Sun Community Solar, a 102kW PV solar array in south Fargo. It is North Dakota's first community solar project and offers CCEC members access to solar power without the hassle of equipment installation and maintenance. Visit our solar page for information about how you can participate in Prairie Sun Community Solar.
CCEC is a partner in a methane generation project at the City of Fargo landfill. The City of Fargo worked with CCEC staff to install a 900 kW Caterpillar Genset that utilizes methane from the landfill. Energy from the generator is distributed back to the electrical grid via CCEC distribution lines and is purchased by our power supplier, Minnkota Power Cooperative. The city captures waste heat from the generator to heat the garbage baling facility. This renewable technology can be applied to large animal confinement facilities too. While the system has great merit, opportunities to increase this area of energy are limited because we have very few methane producing enterprises.