Updates on two new power plants offered at Basin Electric meeting

Basin Electric Power Cooperative – November 7, 2013

In his remarks to the membership, Roy Ireland, president of Basin Electric Power Cooperative, said the theme of this year’s annual meeting is very timely. “We’re a cooperative. Our story began out of a need for power to serve our farms,” he said. “You were a mighty force that couldn’t be ignored. You prevailed and turned the lights on for rural America.”

The theme of this year’s annual meeting is “Strong Foundation, Bright Future.”  

Now, 52 years later, Ireland said the Basin Electric family has many challenges – be it tremendous oil growth, increased cyber security threats, environmental uncertainty or dealing with solar and other distributed generation. “These are really stepping stones toward another list of first and innovations for Basin Electric, he said. “We WILL figure it out, and do what it takes – just like the folks that brought electricity to rural America when no one else would. We always find a way, and do great things. It’s who we are. We should be proud.”


Adding infrastructure

Adding infrastructure – such as transmission lines and power plants – to meet a growing need for electricity throughout Basin Electric’s service territory is a major challenge.

Mike Risan, senior vice president of Transmission, and Matt Greek, senior vice president of Generation, updated the membership on activities designed to maintain the reliability of the cooperative’s transmission system and generating facilities. As member cooperative demand is projected to grow, Risan said transmission analysis of those projections is required to ensure generation can be reliably delivered to the load. “Some of the most immediate needs are in the Bakken region,” he said.

Greek shared updates on the Lonesome Creek Station and Pioneer Generation Station.

The first unit of the Pioneer Station, 15 miles northwest of Williston, was placed in operation in September, with two more units scheduled for the early 2014. Each unit is a 45-megawatt capacity, natural-gas fired unit.

The first unit at the Lonesome Creek Station, 12 miles west of Watford City, ND, is scheduled to be operational by the end of this month with an additional two units scheduled to be complete in late 2014. All the generating units mentioned are the same.

Ted Case

Ted Case, executive director of the Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association in Salem, OR, talked about his new book, “Power Plays: The Story of Electric Co-ops and the President.”

In the face of an uncertain federal and environmental climate, Case was invited to Basin Electric’s annual meeting to speak about his book. “I think it’s really fitting that I come here to the Upper Midwest and Basin Electric Cooperative territory because I have long thought, this region, and the upper Midwest, has carried the electric program politically for many, many years, and you need to be commended for the work that you’ve done.”

Regarding his book, Case said he became interested in the topic after realizing the significance of past relationships between electric co-ops and U.S. presidents.

“What has happened? We had this great relationship with the presidents and something has changed,” Case said.

“The President of the United States has enormous power and enormous sway over our programs. We are not on the radar – and we need to be again. We need to get back to those things that we’re doing, that you’re doing so well here,” Case said. “I’m going to write a sequel to this book someday. It’ll be many, many years down the road. We’ll have a few more presidents, we’ll have more stories. You’ve got an important role in this. I think you’ve got the most important role. You need to provide the ending.”

Legislative report

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) addressed the crowd during a live video feed. Additionally, Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) addressed the crowd through video messages. The videos will be posted on Basin Electric’s website.

Director Elections

Two new directors were elected to three-year terms at the annual meeting:

  • Marshall Collins, representing District 5 – Tri-State G&T, Denver, Colo. He was elected following the retirement of Wayne L. Child, who had been a Basin Electric director since 1985.
  • Mike McQuistionrepresenting District 7 – Rushmore Electric Power Cooperative, Rapid City, S.D. He was elected following the retirement of Roy Ireland, who had been a Basin Electric director since 1996.

A third director, Wayne Peltier, representing District 9 – was re-elected to another three-year term. He’s been a director since 2008 and represents the cooperative members of District 9.