Basin Electric lays out capital spending plans for next few years

Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s directors approved two important documents at their September board meeting, The Long Range Engineering Plan for 2013-2022 and the Construction Work Plan for 2013-2015, that call for spends of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Dawn Moore, mechanical engineer III, said in a Sept. 20 statement from the cooperative that Basin Electric will continue to maintain and operate its electrical generation facilities at acceptable capacity and availability levels over the next 10 years. “However, as the facilities age and as regulatory requirements change, significant capital investments will be required to maintain all facilities in safe and operating condition,” she said. “Transmission facilities and related equipment will also require capital and major maintenance expenditures as these systems age and become obsolete.”

According to the Long Range Engineering Plan, Basin Electric’s facilities are in good condition and in compliance with current environmental and other regulatory requirements. But, the system is aging, and environmental regulations are evolving. Moore said the plan is projecting capital spending of $594m to maintain operations during the next 10 years. About 77% of the projected commitments are for upgrade and replacement projects for operating facilities. Projects responding to environmental issues make up less than 16% of the projected total.

Moore said the construction costs of the Pioneer Generation Station near Williston, N.D., and the Lonesome Creek Station near Watford City, N.D., are not included in this report because capital expenditures won’t be calculated until 2013. Both of these peaking stations are scheduled to be in operation in 2013. The report does include transmission additions that have already been identified.

Lonesome Creek construction, involving a 45-MW gas-fired peaker using a General Electric LM 6000 combustion turbine generator, was approved by the Basin Electric board of directors in February, the Basin Electric website said. Pioneer is also a 45-MW gas-fired peaker that was approved by the Basin Electric board of directors in November 2011 and would also use a General Electric LM 6000 combustion turbine generator.

Additional projects are being evaluated to respond to future load growth in the eastern interconnected system. Projects that have been identified by transmission planning were included in the 2013-2022 Long Range Engineering Plan. Moore said projects identified in this plan are planned, but have not been approved for construction and will be considered individually.

Moore said both the Long Range Engineering Plan and the Construction Work Plan are submitted to the federal Rural Utilities Service as support material if financing is required.

Basin Electric is one of the largest electric generation and transmission cooperatives in the United States. By end of 2012, it will operate 4,737 MW of wholesale electric generating capacity and have 5,153 MW of capacity within its generation portfolio.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.