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Basin to buy power from Montana solar project

Basin Electric Power Cooperative is adding more solar to its electricity generation portfolio.

The generation and transmission co-op has signed an agreement to buy 150 megawatts of power from the Cabin Creek Solar Project in southeastern Montana, five miles west of Baker.

"It's just a way to diversify our resource portfolio, and get the best value for our members, and get them the power that they need," said Basin spokesperson Joan Dietz.

Basin has also signed an agreement to buy the power from a new wind farm in western North Dakota, just approved by state regulators.

"Oddly enough, we get the best wind generation at night, and obviously, we get the best solar generation during the day," said Basin's Andrew Buntrock. "The two profiles fit together well."

Buntrock said Basin is still committed to an “all of the above” strategy when it comes to generation.

"We've had huge growth in demand over the last decade, so we've been able to help fulfill that growth with affordably priced renewables, that include wind and solar," Buntrock said. "As long as we're seeing growth, we will fill that in with renewables and natural gas."

Buntrock said Basin is committed to a "good mix" of energy, including coal.

"That's to ensure we have good reliability for our customers," Buntrock said. "We can't go all in on one."

Forty-two percent of Basin's electricity generation comes from coal. About 23 percent comes from renewable sources.

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