Making shadows on site at Pioneer Generation Station Phase IV

steel structure at construction site
Progress on steel structures on site of Pioneer Generation Station Phase IV near Williston, North Dakota. Photo taken Nov. 2.

As a commitment to the delivery of reliable and affordable electricity, Basin Electric is building about 580 megawatts (MW) of natural gas generation near the existing Pioneer Generation Station northwest of Williston, North Dakota. The project is referred to as Pioneer Generation Station Phase IV (PGSIV), and it’s Basin Electric’s largest single-site electric generation project to be built in North Dakota in 40 years.

The natural gas-fueled, dispatchable generation facility is an important component to Basin Electric’s all-of-the-above energy portfolio, which uses natural gas, coal, wind, recovered energy, fuel oil, market purchases, and soon solar, to serve its growing membership.

The project represents an investment of about $800 million.

Read about the groundbreaking ceremony, and learn more about the facility, in the Fall 2023 issue of Basin Today: Basin Electric breaks ground on generation facility to power a growing membership

Though the official ceremony for groundbreaking was in September, ground was truly broken at PGSIV in March.

And now, crews are "making shadows" on site.

“We dug down about six feet to the floor of what we call the ‘bathtub,’ which is basically bottom of foundation, bottom of pipe, and then built up from there,” says Darrell Slavick, Basin Electric construction coordinator on the project.

Auger cast piles were installed to a depth of 45 to 65 feet, which will support the weight of turbines that weigh several hundred thousand pounds. After underground work include piping, duct banks, and conduit is installed, trenches are filled in. “Finishing that work adds a level of safety because until that work is complete, you have those hazards, and work around the safety fencing and maintaining that fencing in the wind and rain,” Slavick says. “It’s good to get the trenches filled and everyone working on good, stable ground.”

Christmas tree on top of steel structure
When the final steel beam is placed on a structure in power plant construction, the crew holds a "topping off" ceremony by hoisting a Christmas tree and U.S. flag up with the beam. In this case, the topping off ceremony was held Sept. 27 for the building that will hold the reciprocating engines.

Work in the late summer and fall has been focused on the steel structure and getting it enclosed with sheeting. “That gives crews a place to work in the winter when the cold and wind come around, so we have a good, sustainable place to keep working,” he says.

The Wartsila reciprocating engines are planned to arrive onsite in late 2023 after taking a trip from Finland, coming through the Duluth, Minnesota, port and then traveling by rail to Williston. The engines will be re-assembled on site throughout the winter.

Pioneer Generation Station Phase IV construction site
An aerial view of the Pioneer Generation Station Phase IV construction site. Photo taken Nov. 2.

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