By Patrick Soukup, Manager of Member Services & Marketing
After taking a couple years off during the covid-19 pandemic, Central Electric Cooperative members once again traveled to North Dakota for the Basin Electric Bus Tour in July. This is a tradition that goes back many years, and it serves as a fun and educational opportunity for our members.
The group toured the Oahe Dam, Dakota Gasification Company (DGC), Antelope Valley Station (AVS) and Freedom Coal Mine.
DGC uses coal to produce synthetic natural gas, liquid nitrogen, urea and other commonly used commodities.
AVS, the newest of the coal-based power plants, can produce 900 megawatts of power per hour (or 9 million watts at 100 percent capacity). Antelope Valley is a zero-discharge facility, which means water can only leave through evaporation.
These two facilities receive their coal from Freedom Coal Mine, the largest lignite coal mine in the country. Next to the mine is reclaimed land, formerly mined for coal, that has been reconstructed, seeded and is now home to wildlife.
In addition to coal and natural gas, approximately one-third of our power comes from renewable resources. We are unique in South Dakota due to our access to hydroelectric energy from the Missouri River. We also receive nearly one-fourth of our supply from wind energy. The Crow Lake Wind project east of Chamberlain is the largest co-op owned wind project in the U.S.
The key to providing you with the most reliable and cost-effective power is a diversified portfolio. If you want to see your power in action, mark your calendars for the 2023 Basin Electric Bus Tour taking place July 19-21.