Basin Electric looks to RFP to delay ‘capital intensive’ projects

Basin Electric Power Cooperative on June 27 filed a brief, optional integrated resource plan (IRP) with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that didn’t identify any major new capacity additions beyond what is already in play.

Basin Electric and Dairyland Power Cooperative, each of which have small numbers of ratepayers in Minnesota, won last year from state legislators the right to file only a short-form optional IRP with the commission.

Basin said it will need over 1,600 MW of new capacity in the 2012-2025 period, with about 1,200 MW of that needed to serve oil development in the Williston Basin of North Dakota and Montana.

Basin is currently building the first phase of the 135-MW, gas-fired Pioneer Generation Station peaker in North Dakota, with the first unit due for commercial operation in August, and the other two units in 2014.

Also being built in North Dakota is the 135-MW, gas-fired Lonesome Creek Generation Station peaker, with the first unit to go commercial in September, and other two units in 2015.

Last year’s resource planning process showed that the next major addition might be a 500-600 MW combined-cycle facility in the 2019-2021 period. But the June 27 IRP indicates no plans to move forward with the project. In fact, it says a request for proposals issued this month for new power supplies could yield offers that would allow it to delay the addition of any “capital intensive resource.” This year’s analysis shows needed new capacity starting in 2018.

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.