Spirit Mound Station
Location: Vermillion, SD
Output: 120 megawatts
The Spirit Mound Station is an oil-fired peaking station near Vermillion, SD. The plant has two generating units and primarily runs on an as-needed basis when the demand for electricity exceeds the capacity of baseload facilities. That usually occurs during periods of extreme hot or cold temperatures, increased agricultural loads or emergencies.
The station, which began commercial operation in 1978, can be remotely operated from Basin Electric Headquarters in Bismarck, ND. It can be brought up to full load within 30 minutes. That is in contrast to coal-based facilities like Leland Olds Station, which take hours.
The station uses No. 2 fuel oil, which is stored in containers that hold up to 8 million gallons of fuel. When in use, the station consumes 100 gallons of fuel per minute.
Spirit Mound does not operate often; however, it plays an important role in maintaining system reliability. Any number of issues - equipment failure, uncertain power needs, weather, fuel supply - can affect Basin Electric's ability to make and distribute power. The best insurance for dealing with these complexities is to have reserves.