Basin Electric firing up 12 new gas engines at Pioneer plant

Basin Electric Power Cooperative said May 10 that the first of the Wartsila engines at its new Pioneer Generation Station, which is located northwest of Williston, N.D., fired up on April 27.

Phase III construction at Pioneer Generation Station is adding 110 MW into the grid, provided by 12 natural gas-based reciprocating engines that each have a generating capacity of 9.3 MW. First fire of the first reciprocating engine was achieved on April 27. As of May 9, six of the 12 engines have been fired, with the remaining engines firing up in the next several weeks.

“Especially with coal under the microscope right now, this facility is just another notch in assuring we’ll produce quality power for Basin members,” said Mark Winn, construction coordinator II.

Phase III at Pioneer Generation Station, featuring the Wärtsilä 20V34SG reciprocating engine, is expected to go commercial in late 2016.

Pioneer was built to serve the increasing demand for electricity by member cooperatives in northwest North Dakota. Unit 1 started commercial operation in 2013, while Unit 2 and Unit 3 started commercial operation in 2014. Each of the three units has 45 MW of generation capacity.

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.