From the Arrowhead Region near Duluth, down to the farmlands of Southern Minnesota, Great River Energy (GRE) generates and transmits electrical power for approximately 1.7 million people. As a not-for-profit cooperative, GRE is currently comprised of 28 member-owners across the state who all together service 715,000 families, farms and businesses.

Their power comes from a variety of sources, 25 percent of which were renewable in 2020, years ahead of the state’s environmental objective. As GRE races toward their goal of being at least 50 percent renewable by 2030, much of their current innovation is focused on providing technology tools for their member-owners, to help streamline business operations and enable greater collaboration among participating organizations.

Modernizing the electrical grid
When it comes to the success of GRE’s recent endeavors, “collaboration and technology innovation were key ingredients,” said Lauri Petersen, Great River Energy’s Director of IT Strategy and Projects.

Partnering with equipment and telecommunication providers, GRE recently engineered a cellular-based backup solution into their twenty-mile wireless network, to use when primary communications are interrupted.

“This innovative solution has significantly increased reliability of the network for grid operations and reduced the number of after-hours technician visits to remote locations,” Petersen said proudly.

Having also upgraded their distribution management system, GRE can now better interoperate with their member-owners, allowing new functionality to more easily be deployed.

Next gen tech
As for the future, Petersen and her team have a strategic work plan in place and are already hard at work to help their member-owners get the most out of their energy experience.

“The IT division’s plan includes initiatives pertaining to evolving our next generation technology platforms and reducing our technical debt, information management, maturing our enterprise analytics practice, and investing in our asset management processes and supporting controls,” Peterson explained.

Whether improving business and IT tools for their member-owners or expanding the reach of their renewable energy network, it’s no wonder that Great River Energy is the second largest power supplier in Minnesota.

Companies, organizations and individuals eager to get involved with GRE or learn more are encouraged to contact Lauri Petersen at