Deer Creek Station surpasses generation milestone

At about 9 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2023, Basin Electric’s Deer Creek Station, a combined-cycle generation facility located near Brookings, South Dakota, surpassed a major generation milestone. The facility generated its 1 millionth megawatt-hour (MWh) of net generation in one year for the first time since the facility went online in 2012. Net generation is the electricity produced by a facility beyond what it needs to power its own systems.

Lower natural gas prices and less wind generation than forecasted contributed to the facility sending a record amount of electricity to the transmission grid, according to Joe Fiedler, Basin Electric manager of Distributed Generation. The facility conducted an extra outage during the year, in June, to complete work on the combustion turbine. “We decided to complete that work before temperatures got really hot and demand for electricity increased because we did not want to jeopardize availability in the summer,” Fiedler said.

Terry Ackerman, Basin Electric superintendent of South Dakota operations and located at Deer Creek Station, said the milestone is a reflection of the work employees do every day.

“There are big things everyone sees, like outages, and little things that no one else knows about but are critical to plant maintenance and operation, that make a milestone like this possible,” Ackerman said. “I see our team helping their co-workers even when it’s not their job responsibility, cleaning a frosted combustion turbine inlet, helping our contractors succeed, finding ways to maintain equipment when suppliers cannot get us parts for weeks, and a million other things only we know about.”

By midnight on Dec. 31, the facility had generated 1.06 million MWh in 2023.

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