Basin Electric Power Cooperative in a June 21 statement applauded the fact that the North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) on June 16 approved the 87-turbine, 150-MW Brady Wind Energy Center.
The $250 million project will be built in southern Stark County by Brady Wind LLC, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources. Basin Electric will purchase the electricity from the wind project to help meet members’ electrical needs in the Williston Basin and further diversify the cooperative’s generation portfolio. The project is slated for operation by the end of 2016.
NextEra’s proposed Brady Wind Energy Center II project, planned for northern Hettinger County, is still under consideration by the PSC. That application is on the commission’s June 29 meeting agenda. Basin Electric would also purchase the power from that 72-turbine, 150-MW wind project.
Basin Electric’s 2015-2035 load forecast, the main tool for power supply planning, financial forecasting and rate planning, shows member requirements across the nine-state region served by Basin Electric members are projected to increase 1,350 MW over the next 20 years. The forecast shows growth at 1.4% annually across the membership. A 600-MW increase is projected from 2015 through 2020, with 475 MW of that forecast load growth expected to occur within member cooperatives’ service territories in the Williston Basin.
In addition to the increase in projected load forecast, Basin Electric noted that it will need to consider additional wind development to meet new environmental standards developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which requires CO2 reductions from existing power plants. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s stay of the rule in February, a final decision on the rule’s legality has yet to be made, and Basin Electric acknowledges that there is movement toward a carbon-constrained world.
The project approved June 16 will consist of up to 87 turbines. Brady Wind expects to use both General Electric (GE) 1.715 MW Xle and GE 1.79 MW Xle wind turbine generators. Depending on turbine availability and economic considerations, among other factors, Brady Wind may select another turbine model. Brady Wind will construct an approximately 19-mile, 230-kV overhead transmission line to connect the project with the Belfield to Rhame 230-kV transmission line.