Diverse, Reliable and Affordable Power Supply
In order to meet the growing and changing needs of our customers, Heartland maintains a diverse power supply portfolio. Our resource mix includes low-cost, coal-fired baseload power from Whelan Energy Center Unit 2 located near Hastings, Nebraska, renewable energy from the Wessington Springs Wind Energy Center located near Wessington Springs, SD, as well as local capacity. Heartland also enhances our resource mix with market purchases made at economically beneficial times to supplement our load-serving requirements. We also utilize contracts with our customers and other utilities to acquire local capacity resources, which allows Heartland to procure low-cost energy from the market.
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Whelan Energy Center Unit 2
Heartland has a 36% entitlement share in Whelan Energy Center Unit 2 (WEC 2), making it the largest generating resource in our portfolio. WEC 2 is a 220 megawatt, pulverized coal-fired generating plant located near Hastings, Nebraska. The plant meets or exceeds all current pollution control standards and is well-positioned to meet many rules pending with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Through a long-term purchase power agreement with NextEra Energy, Heartland purchases the full output of the 34, 1.5 megawatt turbines at Wessington Springs Wind Energy Center (WSW Energy Center). Situated on approximately 3,500 acres on the bluffs of Jerauld County, WSW Energy Center allows us to meet both the Minnesota renewable energy standard of 25% by 2025 and the South Dakota renewable energy objective of 10% by 2015 on behalf of our customers. Heartland keeps 27% of the environmental attributes (Renewable Energy Certificates, or RECs) from the WSW Energy Center in order to deliver this amount of renewable energy generated from the facility to our customers, and reserves the right to sell the remaining RECs.
Heartland uses contracts with our customers and other utilities to acquire low-cost capacity resources to meet reserve margin requirements and provide a hedge against high market prices. Several Heartland customers have diesel generating plants, totaling 28.5 megawatts, which Heartland has secured on a long-term basis. Contracts with other utilities are used to fill short-term capacity needs.