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Basin Electric receives baseload generation from eight recovered energy generation units at these locations:
Culbertson site near Culbertson, MT
It's energy that would otherwise be released and wasted.
But Basin Electric's recovered energy generation units, developed by Oreg 2, a subsidiary of Ormat Technologies, on the Northern Border Pipeline, use "waste heat" energy to produce electricity.
Eight recovered energy generation units are providing 44 megawatts of baseload generation to Basin Electric member consumers. Powered by hot exhaust, these units each generate 5.5 megawatts with no fuel and no emissions (video).
The recovered energy generation from Oreg 2 brings Basin Electric's total renewable portfolio to 500 megawatts, enough to meet a 10 percent renewable portfolio standard in 2012 if adopted at either the state or federal level.
The power plant equipment for this project was supplied and installed by Ormat Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Israel and Sparks, NV. Basin Electric purchasees the electricity under terms of a purchase power agreement with an Ormat subsidiary, who owns and operates the plants.
Basin Electric purchases the electricity produced by the project and integrates that power with its other generating facilities.
Ron Rebenitsch, Basin Electric's manager of alternative technologies, says the project involves the use of hot exhaust gases from existing compressor stations located along the Northern Border Pipeline to generate electricity. The compressors are driven by natural-gas fueled turbines. "The heat in the compressor exhaust is recovered using heat exchangers. The recovered heat is then used to vaporize a fluid to drive a turbine/generator set," he said. "The exhaust temperature ranges from 850 to 950 degrees F."
In addition, a total of more than 15 miles of 69-kilovolt (kV) transmission lines and substation interconnections were constructed to distribute the power from the generators to Basin Electric's members. The lines were constructed and are owned by Basin Electric members, East River Electric Power Cooperative, Madison, SD, and Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative, Flasher, ND. The ability to interconnect with these members is an essential element of the project. Because the new generators will run almost continuously, they are considered to be baseload generation.
The heat from the exhaust stream at each of the compressor stations is recovered using heat exchangers. The recovered heat is then used to vaporize a fluid to drive a turbine/generator set. The exhaust temperature ranges from 840 to 950 degrees Fahrenheit. Projects have minimal environmental impact with the electric generation considered to have "zero or near-zero emissions."
5.5 megawatts each with a project total of 44 megawatts. One megawatt of capacity could serve the electric demand of approximately 800 homes.
These projects are the first use of this technology on a natural gas pipeline in the United States. The equipment is supplied by ORMAT, which has electricity producing installations on every continent in the world.
To view Basin Electric's generation portfolio, go to At A Glance.
First in the world
"Basin Electric is the first utility in the world to proactively implement this type of recovered energy generation from waste heat on their system."
~ Lucien Bronicki, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Technology Officer, Ormat Technologies
2007 Pacesetter Award
The Northern Border Recovered Energy Project won the 2007 Plant Pacesetter Award from Combined Cycle Journal. The link below is their feature article about Basin Electric and its partners' work on the recovered energy project: