Feeling the heat puts focus on reliability

Basin Electric owns oil and diesel facilities that only run when they are needed. There are fuel reserves on site to ensure the units can run when necessary. For example, Spirit Mound Station in Vermillion, South Dakota, keeps several hundred thousand gallons of fuel oil on site.

This spring and summer, reports of energy shortfalls that could potentially lead to power interruptions were featured on numerous media outlets. These reports left people feeling uneasy and even a little gun shy, remembering the service interruptions that left consumers without power during the energy emergency caused by Winter Storm Uri in February 2021.

The news stories were the result of the publication of a reliability assessment done by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). These assessments are done each summer and winter. NERC looks at every power market across the United States to determine available generation resources and load levels so they can ensure there is enough generation to serve the load.

The results of this summer’s study showed that of all the markets across the country, Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), a regional transmission organization (RTO) Basin Electric has been involved with since 2005, is expected to experience the most amount of risk. MISO covers parts of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota in Basin Electric’s service area as well as 11 other states and into Canada.

To find out more on the drivers that led to the risk of energy shortfalls, and what Basin Electric does to contain these risks, read Reliability remains top priority after summer assessment points to possible shortfalls in the Summer 2022 issue of Basin Today.

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