Public hearing held for proposed generation facility

The North Dakota Public Service Commission (NDPSC) held a hearing on Jan. 5 in Williston, to consider Basin Electric’s proposed Pioneer Generation Station Phase IV project. The cooperative plans to construct natural gas generation near the existing Pioneer Generation Station, northwest of Williston. Basin Electric is seeking a Certificate of Site Compatibility from the NDPSC.

The need for the project was determined through Basin Electric’s load forecasting and power supply planning process, which shows member cooperatives will require more electricity by 2025.

Jim Lund, Basin Electric senior mechanical engineer and project coordinator, said the project would consist of six, 18.8-megawatt reciprocating internal combustion engines and two combustion turbines, each with the capacity to produce up to 250 megawatts. The preliminary project schedule would place the units in service between 2025 and 2026.

Basin Electric project team members provided testimony about the proposed project and answered questions from the NDPSC. Witnesses included Lund; Benjamin Hertz, Basin Electric manager of power supply planning; and Kevin Solie, retired Basin Electric senior environmental compliance administrator and consultant on the project. Anine Merkens, Basin Electric senior staff counsel, served as legal counsel for the project at the hearing.

The hearing provided an opportunity for the public to voice support or concerns regarding the project. Representatives from Basin Electric Class A member Upper Missouri Power Cooperative, Basin Electric Class C member Mountrail-Williams Electric Cooperative, and a local labor union testified in support of the project. No one spoke in opposition. Both Upper Missouri Power and Mountrail-Williams Electric are Basin Electric member cooperatives that serve the Bakken region.

The NDPSC will rule on the permit for the proposed generation project in the coming months.


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