Three teams work over the holidays to power up Wyoming CarbonSAFE project

Editor's note: The following was submitted by DaLyn Hugo, Dry Fork Station environmental coordinator.

It took a collaborative trio to power the Wyoming CarbonSAFE project at Dry Fork Station on a cold December day.

When Shaun Hottell, Dry Fork Station electrical and instrumentation technician I, went out to verify power on Dec. 17, 2021, from the Powder River Energy Corporation (PRECorp)  transformer to the Wyoming CarbonSAFE drilling site near the Dry Fork Station near Gillette, Wyoming, he determined only two of the three phases were operating properly from the transformer. This was concerning because not only was it Friday, it was the day before the CarbonSAFE project was to mobilize onsite and power was needed to prevent onsite accommodations from freezing.

two men wearing hard hats on a well site
Neil Pratt, Dry Fork Station electrical and instrumentation technician I, and Shaun Hottell, Dry Fork Station electrical and instrumentation technician I.

The wind chill was -1 degree Fahrenheit. As Dry Fork Station electricians pulled heavy panel doors off to determine why there was no electrical conductivity to the CarbonSAFE drilling site, PRECorp lineworkers responded within the hour. When they realized the electrical issue was on Western Fuels - Dry Fork Mine property, the mine immediately provided access and escorted them while they were on the mine site.

As the weather turned worse with blowing snow and colder temperatures, more issues became apparent, but all three groups stayed committed. When PRECorp had to go back to its shop in town for more parts, they got back to the site quickly and kept working on the issue. While Basin Electric electricians focused on wiring the Polaris lugs into the power panel, a Dry Fork Mine employee maintained communication between PRECorp work on the mine site and Basin Electric. It was impressive to watch an experienced team of professionals collaborate and succeed in adverse conditions.  

three men standing in front of a pickup
Jeff Bode, PRECorp journeyman-lineman; Randy Himle, PRECorp crew chief; and Colton McLaughlin, PRECorp journeyman-lineman. Not pictured: Kyle Erickson, PRECorp journeyman-lineman.

PRECorp replaced lightning arrestors and a module, Dry Fork Station electricians connected power from the transformer to the CarbonSAFE project, and Dry Fork Mine maintained access, safety, and communication for the entire project.

It is uplifting to work with great teams in our cooperative, especially during the holiday season, and people who were willing to change the course of their day to lend a hand.

PRECorp crew:

Kyle Erickson, journeyman-lineman; Jeff Bode, journeyman-lineman; Randy Himle, crew chief; and Colton McLaughlin, journeyman-lineman

Basin Electric crew:

Neil Pratt, electrical and instrumentation technician I, and Shaun Hottell, electrical and instrumentation technician I

Dry Fork Mine:

Dave Green, PG project engineer

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