S.D. commission OKs gas-fired power plantSouth Dakota regulators approved two permits Tuesday to allow Basin Electric Power Cooperative to build a $400 million gas-fired, combined-cycle power plant near Brookings.
By: By Chet Brokaw, The Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota regulators approved two permits Tuesday to allow Basin Electric Power Cooperative to build a $400 million gas-fired, combined-cycle power plant near Brookings.
The Public Utilities Commission’s three members voted unanimously to approve the Deer Creek Station power plant and a natural gas pipeline to bring fuel to the plant.
“This is $400 million worth of investment and 30 full-time jobs. It is a nice benefit that can accrue from building a safe, reliable and affordable energy supply,” PUC Chairman Dusty Johnson said.
Basin Electric, based in Bismarck, N.D., still has an environmental impact study pending with a federal agency. The company hopes to begin construction in July and have the plant operating in 2012.
The plant, located about 12 miles east of Brookings in eastern South Dakota, could generate up to 300 megawatts of power. It would use natural gas to fire one turbine. Heat from the gas turbine’s exhaust would be used to heat water and create steam to run the second turbine.
The permits approved Tuesday include conditions negotiated by Basin Electric and the commission’s staff. The PUC’s hearing on the issue lasted only about a half hour because no one appeared at the meeting to oppose the project.
Basin Electric proposed the plant to meet growing demand from its member electric systems.
Commissioners said the plant could work in coordination with wind farms in the area. Project manager Gavin McCollam said the Deer Creek Station’s power generation could be adjusted quickly according to the availability of wind-generated power.
In response to questions from the PUC, McCollam said the plant’s use of natural gas should have little or no effect on the price of gas in the area.