Missouri River Energy Services History

Missouri River Energy Services (MRES) was formed in the early 1960s under the name Missouri Basin Municipal Power Agency (MBMPA). Its mission was to help municipalities that operated their own electric systems to work together in planning for future power supply needs and solving other mutual problems. The name was changed to Missouri River Energy Services in 1998, but the organization's mission remains the same. MRES was the first multi-state joint-action agency, and the third overall, to be established in the United States.

1965: Legislation was enacted in Iowa to allow municipalities to formally organize joint-action agencies to do together what they could not accomplish as individual municipalities. MBMPA was established under Chapter 28E of the Iowa Code and exists under the inter-governmental cooperation laws of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

1966: The MBMPA Board of Directors approves expansion beyond Iowa and accepts Minnesota municipal utilities as members.

1970: Members and other preference customers who purchased their full power and energy requirements from the federal hydroelectric facilities in this region were notified that, in late 1977, they would have to look elsewhere for supplemental power and energy to meet their load growth requirements above the 1977 levels. MBMPA members determined that the agency should plan for their additional power supply needs.

1974: The MBMPA Board of Directors approves South Dakota municipal utilities as members.

1976: The Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (WMMPA) was established. WMMPA obtains the financing for and is the owner of the power supply and transmission facilities used to serve MBMPA members under the terms of the power supply and transmission capacity contracts between WMMPA and MBMPA. Also, the first S-1 long-term power sales agreements with MBMPA members are signed. The S-1 agreements provide the terms and conditions under which MBMPA members purchase their wholesale energy requirements, which are supplemental to the communities' hydroelectric purchases from the federal government.

1978: The Watertown Power Plant, a diesel-fuel fired peaking plant, is dedicated and begins commercial operations. Municipal utilities from North Dakota join MBMPA.

1980: After four years of construction, the Missouri Basin Power Project (MBPP) dedicates the first unit of the coal-fired Laramie River Station (LRS). Unit 1 serves MBPP customers on the east side of the transmission grid, including MBMPA members. In addition to LRS, the $1.6 billion MBPP includes the Grayrocks Dam and Reservoir. Grayrocks serves as the primary source of cooling water for LRS. The second unit of LRS begins commercial operation in July 1981, and the third unit in November 1982. WMMPA owns 16.47 percent of the plant and related transmission facilities. WMMPA has a power supply agreement with MBMPA that entitles MBMPA to the entire output of WMMPA's share of the project.

1985: All S-1 members agree to 10-year extensions of their long-term power sales agreements with MBMPA.

1990: MBMPA celebrates its 25th anniversary, including a publication of a MBMPA history book, titled "They Said It Couldn't Be Done!''

1998: MBMPA changes the name under which it does business to Missouri River Energy Services, but the organization's mission remains the same.

2000: MRES is the first joint-action agency to earn the American Public Power Association's "Golden Tree Award" as members plant more than 125,000 trees in their communities.

2002: MRES launches RiverWinds℠ program and builds a wind farm near Worthington, Minn.

2004: MRES takes steps to expand and diversify its generation resources by building the Exira Station, which began operating commercially in May as a natural gas peaking power plant. MRES joins CapX 2020, which is a group of regional transmission-owning utilities, to address the region's growing demand for electricity.

2005: MRES celebrates 40 years of working together with its members.

2007: MRES launches Bright Energy Solutions®, a demand-side management program that can help MRES and its members save 85 megawatts (MW) over the next 12 years and help delay the need for new power plants. MRES adds a third unit at the Exira Station, boosting the plant's generating capacity from 100 to 140 MW. MRES begins taking energy from a new wind energy project located near Marshall, Minn. The Marshall project consists of nine wind turbines capable of producing 18.7 MW of power.

2008: In July, the Odin Wind Farm, located in Minnesota, becomes operational. This wind project is capable of producing 20 MW of power. MRES is entitled to the entire output from the Marshall and Odin wind projects.

2009: MRES added 40 MW of renewable energy to its power supply portfolio when the Rugby, N.D. Wind Project began commercial operation Dec. 1.

2010: MRES launches Get the Load Down℠, a coordinated demand response program that encourages the reduction of peak demand usage in member communities by cycling air conditioners and electric water heaters when demand for electricity is greatest.

2011: MRES announces plans to build a hydroelectric generating facility at the Red Rock Reservoir on the Des Moines River in Iowa. The design output of the Red Rock Hydroelectric Project (RRHP) will be approximately 36 MW, but capable of generating up to 55 MW when water is plentiful. MRES agrees to a purchased power agreement with WPPI Energy for output from the Point Beach Nuclear Plant located near Two Rivers, Wisconsin. MRES receives 32 MW of Point Beach capacity and energy from WPPI Energy for 20 years.

2012: The city of Pella, Iowa, becomes the 60th member of MRES and begins purchasing all of its electrical requirements from MRES.

2015: MRES celebrates its 50th Anniversary and publishes But We Did It Anyway!

2018: The MRES Board of Directors approved an agreement April 23 granting membership to Willmar, Minn., in MRES. Willmar becomes the 61st member and the 25th from Minnesota.

2020: As part of its commitment to a cleaner energy future, MRES launched the Bright Energy Choices program on Jan. 1, 2020, which allows members and their customers to off-set the fossil fuels in their power supply mix through the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), making their energy, in effect, net-zero carbon.

2021: RRHP begins commercial operation in June. The design output of the RRHP is approximately 43.1 MW, but the project is capable of generating up to 55 MW at certain times of the year when water is plentiful. RRHP is the second-largest hydropower generating facility in the state of Iowa.

2022: Fitch Ratings, a New York-based financial rating agency, assigned WMMPA’s outstanding power supply revenue bonds an AA- with stable outlook. Moody’s Investors Service, also from New York, upgraded its rating of WMMPA’s outstanding bonds to Aa3 with a stable outlook.

2023: Matthew E. Schull accepted the position of president and chief executive officer (CEO) for MRES. He replaced Thomas J. Heller, who led MRES for over 30 years.

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