Basin Electric trucking lime to coal plant due to rail delivery issues

Basin Electric Power Cooperative said June 27 that what used to be a rare thing, railroad issues that impact deliveries of commodities, has become much more common.

About one-third of the lime used in the SO2 scrubbers at the coal-fired Antelope Valley Station, located near Beulah, N.D., is being trucked in because rail deliveries aren’t keeping up. The lime comes from Wyoming Lime Producers’ Frannie Lime Plant near Frannie, Wyo. Wyoming Lime Producers is a division of Dakota Coal Co., which is a subsidiary of Basin Electric.

Dean Bray, Dakota Coal director of lignite, lime and limestone, said that the BNSF Railway is doing maintenance on its tracks west of Dickinson, N.D. “The railroad is replacing ties, which is good news because if they don’t do that maintenance, the rail situation will get worse,” he said. “All commodities are being affected by the rail service on the same route that our lime travels. This maintenance shows BNSF is following through on its plan to improve its service and we are happy to see this investment being made. They’re also investing in their locomotives and hiring additional personnel.”

RB&C Grain of Billings, Mont., is the company trucking the lime to Antelope Valley. Bray said the regular trucking started on June 1, when Antelope Valley’s inventory of lime got down to less than half of normal. RB&C Grain is hauling about 1,000 tons of lime per week. Antelope Valley uses about 350-400 tons of lime per day in the scrubbers.

Bray said the hope is to limit the trucking of lime as much as possible by the end of the summer, depending on rail cycle times. He said it costs $25-50 more per ton to truck lime rather than ship it by rail. “But that cost is much less than what it would cost Basin Electric to have to restrict a power plant if it would run low on lime,” Bray said.

Located seven miles northwest of Beulah, the Antelope Valley Station has two units, each rated at 450 MW. It is located next to a lignite coal mine (The Coteau Properties Co.‘s Freedom Mine) from which it receives its fuel.

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.