Basin Electric gets the go-ahead for two new natural gas turbines in the oil patch

Mar 27, 2014

The Public Service Commission has okayed Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s plans to add two more 45-megawatt natural gas turbines to its Lonesome Creek station near Watford City.

That brings to 135 megawatts the amount of power from that station. It’s a “peaking” plant – that will not be running all the time, but will kick in as needed.

"While these are definitely needed projects, they do not solve the long term concerns that Basin has to provide baseload power in this region," said PSC Chairman Brian Kalk. "It's a worthwhile project, and it provides more use for natural gas, as we continue to figure out better and more uses for natural gas in the region."

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak says Basin is estimating that it will be short by a thousand megawatts of electric generation over the next several years.

"This is one piece of a broader, longer-term solution to the power demands in that area," said Fedorchak. "It includes not only these peaking plants, but also baseload generation, and significant investments in  transmission."

Basin is hoping to start construction May first – and have the two new turbines ready by the end of this year. The cost: $102 million.