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Maple Grove, Minn.-based Great River Energy, a nonprofit wholesale electric cooperative, has signed a 200 MW seasonal diversity exchange with utility Manitoba Hydro of Winnipeg, extending an arrangement that has been in place since 1995. The new agreement runs until 2030.

According to Great River Energy, the seasonal diversity exchange takes advantage of the fact that Manitoba Hydro's load peaks during winter due to demand for heating, while Great River Energy experiences its peak loads in the summer due to higher air conditioner use. The utility says the diversity exchange means Manitoba Hydro will provide 200 MW of hydroelectric capacity to Great River Energy in the summer, and Great River Energy will provide Manitoba Hydro with 200 MW during the winter.

"Seasonal diversity exchanges like this are a great way for both utilities to share capacity and diversify sources of power supply," says Jon Brekke, vice president of member services for Great River Energy. "The exchange makes use of existing transmission lines between the utilities and helps ensure a more secure, stable and affordable energy future for our members."

"This agreement highlights the ongoing importance of transmission interconnections with neighboring utilities," adds Scott Thomson, president and CEO of Manitoba Hydro. "Not only do they allow us to sell excess hydroelectricity, which helps keep Manitoba's rates low, but they ensure that we have the ability to import electricity during periods of drought or during emergencies, enhancing the reliability of electrical service to all our customers."

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