Basin Electric Power Cooperative said Jan. 9 that it is trucking coal to the 669-MW Leland Olds Station for the time being until rail congestion is eased and the plant can take its normal rail deliveries.
Basin noted that there are normally 60-62 cars per train moving to the plant, at 100 tons per car. The lignite trucking program has a goal of 4,000-5,000 tons per day of haulage. Main rail line congestion, limited train deliveries and recent low temperatures have prompted this move. Basin Electric initiated a 30-day contract with Northern Improvement on Dec. 30, 2013, to haul up to 250 tarp-covered truckloads of coal per day about 30 miles from the 900-MW Antelope Valley Station near Beulah, N.D., to Leland Olds near Stanton, N.D.
According to Dean Bray, the Dakota Coal director of lignite, lime and limestone, the decision to truck coal was made due to a dwindling stockpile of lignite at Leland Olds. Leland Olds typically uses 10,000 tons per day. Lignite inventory was less than 80,000 tons in late December, but continued rail deliveries supplemented by truck deliveries have increased the total Leland Olds stockpile.
“Increased rail traffic and resulting congestion due to the Basin Transload facility near Zap, ND, has resulted in a small window for Basin Electric to get its trains on that railway mainline,” Bray said. “In addition, BNSF crew staffing issues and a string of colder-than-average days have caused the lignite to freeze to the sides of the rail cars, making it difficult to fully empty the cars in the short timeframe available to unload the coal.”
Basin Electric said it is working with the BNSF Railway to address rail service issues. The cooperative will review train and truck deliveries, stockpile inventory levels and the Leland Olds generation forecast on a weekly basis to determine the duration of truck haulage, and will discontinue trucking once an acceptable stockpile level is reached.
Leland Olds normally takes about 3.3 million tons of lignite per year produced at the Freedom mine in the region. Antelope Valley takes lignite directly, without a rail haul, from the adjacent Freedom mine of Coteau Properties, which is part of North American Coal.