Basin Electric to buy up to 425 MW of new capacity to meet future needs

During the May board meeting, directors of Basin Electric Power Cooperative authorized staff to execute up to 425 MW of power purchase opportunities.

Earlier this year, Basin Electric’s Cooperative Planning Department issued a request for proposal for short and long-term purchase power opportunities. They received 18 proposals for 1,354 MW. During the May board meeting, directors authorized staff to execute up to 425 MW of those power purchase opportunities, said Basin in a May 29 announcement that didn’t provide details on the winning projects.

Becky Kern, Basin Electric director of utility planning, said the reason Basin Electric is pursuing the power purchase agreements now is to allow the cooperative to delay building new facilities. “The power purchase agreements are lower cost than building new facilities such as a combined cycle or peaking resource,” Kern said. “By buying this power today, we believe we can potentially delay the decision for new resources for another year or so and monitor load growth and market conditions.”

The agreements were strategically considered because of their location across the Southwest Power Pool, Montana and Midcontinent Independent System Operator regions.

Basin Electric’s core business is generating and transmitting wholesale bulk electric power to customers, primarily to member rural electric systems located in nine states: Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Basin Electric’s total winter season generation capacity portfolio by end of year 2015 will be 5,744 MW. Of that, Basin Electric has purchased 1,769 MW of electric generation capacity/energy, including 1,005 total MW of renewable energy of which 961 MW are wind energy, and 44 MW are waste heat energy. The purchased power portfolio also includes 62 MW of nuclear.

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.