Power from five new wind projects to cut into Basin Electric’s coal total

Basin Electric Power Cooperative said May 10 that its projected generation statistics for 2016 end of year (EOY) are now posted online, and show a continued increase in renewable generation capacity.

Basin Electric’s total winter season generation capacity portfolio by 2016 EOY will be 6,555 MW. Of that total, 45.6%, or 2,991 MW, is coal-based generation. Natural gas peaking generation projections climbed to more than 1,228 MW, or 18.7% of the cooperative’s generation portfolio, while projections for renewable generation climbed to more than 1,570 MW, or 24.1% of the cooperative’s total generation capacity.

Dave Raatz, Basin Electric vice president of Cooperative Planning, said the additional renewables come from North Dakota wind projects planned to be built and operational this year, from which Basin Electric will buy the power.

The additional natural gas capacity will come in when the third phase of both the Lonesome Creek Station and Pioneer Generation Station go commercial. The peaking plants are located near Watford City and Williston, N.D., respectively, and these new phases are planned to come online later this year.

Raatz noted that some power purchase agreements have changed, meaning that the generation portfolio looks different in the summer. For example, one agreement used to be a consistent 50 MW year-round, but is now concentrated solely in the summer. “That, combined with the ratings at Dry Fork Station being different in the winter than in the summer, means our coal-based generation seems to be lower than in previous years,” Raatz said. “In fact, our summer coal-based generation is 3,168 megawatts, or 58.6 percent of the total.”

The generation portfolio added a new category this year: unspecified purchased power. “This category represents the power purchase agreements we have that do not explicitly provide a specific resource in the contract from which the power we are purchasing comes from,” Raatz said. “Previously we made assumptions based on the seller’s resource portfolio being primarily coal. We decided it best to be more precise in that reporting, and created this new category.”

At the close of 2015, coal-based resources held the largest share of Basin Electric’s total capacity portfolio mix at about 55%, natural gas-based resources at about 18%, and renewable capacity at about 15%, when taking unspecified generation into account.

Basin Electric owns generation in North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Iowa, and additionally purchases power from facilities in Minnesota and Nebraska.

Basin Electric said its committed power projects for 2016 are:

  • Antelope Hills Wind, Beulah, N.D., 172 MW, to be completed in December 2016, power seller is SunEdison;
  • Sunflower Wind, Hebron, N.D., 104 MW, to be completed in December 2016, power seller is SunEdison;
  • Lindahl Wind, Tioga, N.D., 150 MW, to be completed in December 2016, power seller is Tradewind Energy;
  • Brady 1, wind, New England, N.D., 150 MW, to be completed in December 2016, power seller is NextEra Energy; and
  • Brady 2, wind, New England, N.D., 150 MW, to be completed in December 2016, power seller is NextEra Energy.
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.