New Wave Agriculture Opportunities – April 2019 CEO Message

Daniel Carlisle
President/CEO

Our Member Services team has been busy pursuing an interesting opportunity this month. Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative’s power supplier, Great River Energy (GRE), and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) have teamed up to solicit applications for a two-year indoor agriculture growing experiment. The project will utilize a modified shipping container pod that will be fully equipped with heat growing lights and a hydroponic system. The successful rural electric cooperative that is awarded the project will need a local partner to pay for a portion of the project costs and to provide labor to monitor and harvest the produce that is grown. TWEC is interested in the project not only because it will provide a nice additional electric load for our system, but also because it will help us to better understand how our electric distribution system could function if this type of load becomes accepted and is more common in the future.

Central Lakes College (CLC) has agreed to be involved in the project and to provide a site for the self-contained agricultural pod to be located. The site must have water and electricity available. The college has a pod-ready site available that meets this requirement. Lakewood Health System of Staples has also joined in as a partner in this application. Lakewood has an established outreach program for food nutrition in the area and its cafeteria facility will provide an end-use consumption point.

Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative’s Member Services staff has devoted numerous hours to refining the application submission to GRE. The final product will include a written application, video testimonials from our project partners, and many sound reasons why our cooperative should be selected to host this exciting project. We expect the winning cooperative to be announced in early April. We are hopeful that you will be seeing a new wave, high-tech, agriculture produce-growing pod in our service territory by mid-summer. Wish us luck!

Daniel Carlisle
President/CEO