Green energy is generated by forces of nature or gas from bioproducts combustion, so it is often termed "renewable" energy. It's renewable because the power is fueled primarily by non-fossil fuels like wind power, hydro power, waste heat, biomatter and solar power - all resources that have little or near-zero emissions. Thermal combustion plays a reduced role.There are pros and cons to using green energy. The obvious postives are that green power has no or low pollution, making it clean by definition. No human interference required. Renewable energy, however, is intermittent, meaning energy isn't produced on a consistent basis or at the required voltage. Power generation sometimes depends on the weather. Sun is necessary to power solar panels, wind to turn turbine blades, and sufficient water in reservoirs to power hydroelectric dams. America's electrical transmission grid needs consistent, stable power 24 hours a day in order to keep the current flowing. Renewable energy isn't likely to be reliable or responsive to fluctuations in demand for power.
Questions about renewable energy abound: for example, how much will intermittent "green" power cost? Can it replace efficient and reliable baseload power? Basin Electric has some answers.
Basin Electric is forging ahead with exploration of new, innovative technologies for keeping our energy fleet running cleanly and efficiently. Many rural Americans would like our nation to become less dependent on foreign oil resources. Developing renewable energy at home is one way to make a difference.
Basin Electric and its members are increasingly interested in alternative forms of renewable energy, and we are working together to explore options for generating the cleanest, most affordable electricity possible. Basin Electric believes conservation and sustainability of natural resources depends on supplying affordable, clean energy to as many people and industries as possible, and exploring new technologies for improving how energy is produced.
The key is balance. Basin Electric has purchased a total of 878 MW of electric generation capacity, including 376 total MW of non-fossil fuels based generation of which 331.6 MW is from wind, 44 MW from waste heat (known as recovered energy generation - REG) energy, and 375 kilowatts (kW) from a bio-gas facility in South Dakota. Creating our energy future will entail a mix of both carbon-based and renewable energy resources.
Basin Electric and its membership support a clean environment and recognizes the need to use energy more efficiently to hold down the cost of producing additional energy and to conserve our natural resources.
Basin Electric's renewable generating resources are producing more than just electricity. They're also producing Tradable Renewable Credits or "green tags." Sales of green tags recently surpassed 2,700,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) as of 2010.* A green tag represents the environmental attribute associated with producing one MWh of electricity from an electric generating source such as wind, small hydro, solar or biomass. Basin Electric's green tags are generated primarily from wind farms either owned by Basin Electric or by purchasing energy from other wind resources The sale of green tags began in 2001, just prior to four of Basin Electric wind turbines being placed in operation. Green tags are purchased by Basin Electric's member systems and other entities including the Minot Air Force Base (ND) and the Ellsworth Air Force Base, Rapid City, SD.
Basin Electric has a contract to purchase 44 megawatts of renewable or "green" generating base-load capacity from eight generating stations owned by Ormat Technologies Inc., and fueled by waste heat recovered from the exhaust of gas turbines at existing compressor stations located along the Northern Border Pipeline in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana.
Environmentally benign, these units have near-zero emissions and minimal impact on the environment. The energy from these units is enough to serve the electrical needs of about 15,000 average residential homes. Basin Electric is selling green tags associated with this project.
Fourteen ethanol plants presently served by the member cooperatives produce nearly 600 million gallons of ethanol and require 60 MW of power. That represents 15 percent of the total ethanol production in the United States from those plants. If proposed ethanol facilities are built, they will more than double the ethanol production and the amount of power required. Less foreign oil and more ethanol creates a more secure energy future for America.
Basin Electric has contracted with Hydrogenics Corp. to supply an electrolyzer-based hydrogen refueling station for installation in Minot, ND. In addition to the core electrolyzer module, Hydrogenics also supplied compression, storage and dispenser equipment. The station is one of the first United States-based hydrogen fueling stations to use electricity from a wind power resource to produce hydrogen from water, in this case using electricity generated by wind resources either owned or contracted by Basin Electric.
The hydrogen produced is used to refuel hydrogen-powered vehicles, demonstrating a linkage between wind power and vehicle refueling. The project demonstrates the ability and practicality of making and using hydrogen energy with zero carbon emissions, using excess wind power that might otherwise be under utilized. This capability can potentially lead to significantly enhanced overall efficiencies of existing and future wind power installations.
The installation of the electrolyzer fueling station at North Dakota State University's North Central Research Extension Center is an integral component of a Department of Energy-sponsored wind-hydrogen project announced by U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan's office in September 2004.
Showing a commitment to new technologies, conservation and the environment, Basin Electric and other cooperatives within the Renewable Distributed Energy Group (RDEG) have proposed a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) project, which would use cooperative-generated power to "fuel" co-op vehicles. The RDEG is part of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) Cooperative Research Network (CRN).
As part of the project, four conventional hybrid vehicles will be converted to "plug-in" hybrids. The vehicles will be operated and maintained by Basin Electric and three other co-ops from around the country: Salem Electric Cooperative in Oregon, Jackson Electric Membership Cooperative in Georgia and Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative in Missouri.
Each co-op participating in the project will convert a gas/electric hybrid vehicle to a PHEV. Each participant will be responsible for maintaining detailed records of the use and energy requirements of the vehicles, said Rob Rebenitsch, Basin Electric manager of member marketing. Basin Electric will use its plug-in hybrid within the co-ops current vehicle fleet.
Basin Electric participates in the Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership (PCOR), a DOE regional carbon sequestration partnership developed to better understand the technical and economic feasibility of sequestering CO2 emissions from stationary sources in the central interior of North America.
Basin Electric is a member of the Canadian Clean Power Coalition (CCPC). Initiated in 2003, the CCPC Project is comprised of seven founding Canadian companies that operated 90 percent of Canada's coal-based generation capacity, and several Canadian and American partners. Their multi-stage objectives are to demonstrate the future of clean coal technology, and emissions and retrofit technology, including construction of a "Greenfield" plant by 2010-2012, and testing of advanced Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) systems for gasifying coal. Basin Electric is actively involved in the testing of low-rank fuels such as lignite, which is burned in its North Dakota facilities.