Basin Electric Power Cooperative

From Global Energy Monitor
Basin Electric Power Cooperative
TypeRegional and Municipal Cooperative
Headquarters1717 East Interstate Ave.
Bismarck, ND 58503
Area servedCO, IA, MN, MT, ND, NE, NM, SD, WY
Key peopleRonald R. Harper, CEO
IndustryElectric Producer and Distributor
Revenue$1.33 billion (2007)[1]
Net income $58.9 million (2007)[1]
SubsidiariesDakota Gasification Co.
Souris Valley Pipeline Ltd.
Dakota Coal Co.
Montana Limestone Co.
Basin Telecommunications Inc.
Basin Cooperative Services
PrairieWinds ND 1, Inc.
PrairieWinds SD 1, Inc.

Basin Electric Power Cooperative is a wholesale electric generation and transmission cooperative based in North Dakota that provides electricity to 2 million customers in nine U.S. states. The roots of the cooperative go back to 1960 when Leland Olds and ten power suppliers created Giant Power Cooperative. Giant Power was first going to be a generation and transmission cooperative, but to keep electricity cheaper for rural customers, Basin Electric Power Cooperative was started in 1961. Today, Basin Electric's power sources include coal, electricity, natural gas, and wind. The current CEO and General Manager is Ronald R. Harper.

Power portfolio

Out of its total 3,444 MW of electric generating capacity in 2005 (0.32% of the U.S. total), Basin Electric got 94.0% from coal, 3.9% from oil, 2.0% from natural gas, and 0.2% from wind. Basin Electric owns power plants in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.[2]

In 2005 Basin Electric had 3 coal-fired generating stations with 7 total generating units, totalling 3,236 MW of capacity. Here is a list of Basin Electric's coal power plants:[2][3][4]

Plant Name State County Year(s) Built Capacity 2007 CO2 Emissions 2006 SO2 Emissions Status
Laramie River WY Platte 1981, 1982 1710 MW 10,100,000 tons 11,539 tons Operating
Antelope Valley ND Mercer 1984, 1986 870 MW 8,109,000 tons 14,525 tons Operating
Leland Olds ND Mercer 1966, 1975 656 MW 5,691,000 tons 40,027 tons Operating
Dry Fork Station WY Campbell 2011 483.7 MW - - Operating

In 2005, Basin Electric's 3 coal-fired power plants emitted 23.9 million tons of CO2 and 66,000 tons of SO2.

Coal lobbying

Basin Electric Cooperative is a member of the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA), an umbrella lobbying group for all coal ash interests that includes major coal burners Duke Energy, Southern Company and American Electric Power as well as dozens of other companies. The group argues that the so-called "beneficial-use industry" would be eliminated if a "hazardous" designation was given for coal ash waste.[5]

ACAA set up a front group called Citizens for Recycling First, which argues that using toxic coal ash as fill in other products is safe, despite evidence to the contrary.[5]

Member cooperatives

Direct purchasing

Generation and Transmission (G&T)

Class D Members

Drinking water contaminated with hexavalent chromium from coal may cause cancer

A report released by EarthJustice and the Sierra Club in early February 2011 stated that there are many health threats associated a toxic cancer-causing chemical found in coal ash waste called hexavalent chromium. The report specifically cited 29 sites in 17 states where the contamination was found. The information was gathered from existing EPA data on coal ash and included locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virgina and Wisconsin. In North Dakota, the Basin Electric Power Cooperative's WJ Neal Station Surface Impoundment in Velva was reported as having high levels of chromium seeping into groundwater.[6]

As a press release about the report read:

Hexavalent chromium first made headlines after Erin Brockovich sued Pacific Gas & Electric because of poisoned drinking water from hexavalent chromium. Now new information indicates that the chemical has readily leaked from coal ash sites across the U.S. This is likely the tip of the iceberg because most coal ash dump sites are not adequately monitored.[7]

USDA approves loan for Antelope Valley CO2 capture

In January 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a loan of up to $300 million to Basin Electric Power Cooperative for the development of a demonstration project to capture carbon dioxide emissions at its Antelope Valley Station in Mercer County. Basin Electric is partnering with Powerspan Corp. and Burns & McDonnell to demonstrate CO2 removal from the flue gas of a lignite-based boiler. The project would capture about a million tons of CO2 per year from part of the plant's exhaust stream and send it to oil fields along the pipeline used by the plant.[8]

In July 2009, the project received up to $100 million from the Department of Energy's Clean Coal Power Initiative.[9]

Powder River Basin Air Permit Lawsuit Dismissed

On March 5, 2010 the Powder River Basin Resource Council and Sierra Club lost a case in the Wyoming Supreme Court where the groups had challenged an air quality permit that the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality issued for the Dry Fork Station in 2007. The plant is closing in on 75 percent completion rate as of March 2010. The Supreme Court ruling lifts one of the last remaining obstacles for the plant's completion. The plant's $1.3 billion cost includes $334 million in pollution-control equipment.

The groups involved in the suit claimed the plant could degrade air quality the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation in southern Montana. The plant is to be located 60 miles south of the reservation. The environmental groups argued that worst-case computer modeling showed the plant's emissions, combined with emissions from existing plants in Montana, could cause high levels of pollution on the Northern Cheyenne reservation. However, the justices on the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that the state regulators granted the permit correctly.[10]

Proposed Coal Plants

Wind Farms

  • Chamberlain Wind Project
  • Minot Wind Project
  • North Dakota Wind Energy Center I
  • Pipestone Wind Project
  • Rosebud Wind Project
  • South Dakota Wind Energy Center
  • Wilton Wind Energy Center

Peaking Stations

  • Earl F. Wisdom Generating Station Unit 2
  • Groton Generating Station
  • Madison Peaking Units
  • Spirit Mound Station

Other Generating Units

  • Recovered Energy Generation (cogeneration with pipeline pumping)
  • Wyoming Distributed Generation (natural gas units associated with coalbed methane projects)

Subsidiary companies


Board of Directors

  • President Wayne Child District 5
  • Vice President Cliff Gjellstad District 3
  • Sec/Treasurer Kermit Pearson District 1
  • Asst. Secretary Don Applegate District 4
  • Director Gary Drost District 2
  • Director Wayne Peltier District 9[11]
  • Director Dean McCabe District 8
  • Director Roberta Rohrer District 6
  • Director Reuben Ritthaler District 10
  • Director Roy Ireland District 7

Contact Details

Basin Electric Power Cooperative
1717 East Interstate Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58503-0564 USA
Phone: 701.223.0441



  1. 1.0 1.1 Financial Highlights, Basin Electric Power Cooperative website, accessed July 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005, Energy Information Administration, accessed April 2008.
  3. Environmental Integrity Project, Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants, July 2007.
  4. Dig Deeper, Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed June 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Coal-Fired Utilities to American Public: Kiss my Ash & PolluterWatch, October 27, 2010.
  6. [ "EPA’s Blind Spot: Hexavalent Chromium in Coal Ash"] Earthjustice & Sierra Club, February 1, 2011.
  7. "Coal ash waste tied to cancer-causing chemicals in water supplies" Alicia Bayer,, February 1, 2011.
  8. "USDA approves loan for CO2 capture project," Basin Electric Power Cooperative, January 15, 2009.
  9. "DOE provides stimulus cash for 'clean coal' plants," E&E News PM, July 1, 2009.
  10. "Wyoming Supreme Court upholds coal plant permit" Mead Gruver, March 9, 2010.
  11. Wayne Peltier - Basin Electric Power Cooperative

Related articles

External resources

Wikipedia also has an article on Basin Electric Power Cooperative. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.