EPA regulations pose threat to Basin Electric and its members

Basin Electric’s dispatchable generation units are facing new regulation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

On April 25, EPA announced a suite of rules that require stricter regulations on carbon emissions, metals emissions, wastewater, and coal ash.

“We are seeing an unprecedented onslaught of regulations from EPA, targeting both natural gas generation and coal generation. They are looking to further restrict the way we operate our facilities and supersede our current environmental processes. Basin Electric has controls in place to ensure we continue to meet or exceed all environmental requirements under existing state programs,” said Erin Dukart, Basin Electric director of Environmental Services.

The new greenhouse gas regulations hinge on the widespread adoption of carbon capture. While promising, the technology is not yet widespread or commercially available and has not been adequately demonstrated as is required by the Clean Air Act.

“Part of the problem is the technology that they’re looking at, especially on the greenhouse gas side, doesn’t exist or isn’t available. The regulation attempts to force utilities into a decision to either install unproven, extremely expensive technology on an unrealistic timeline that relies on infrastructure that is not yet available, or prematurely retire power generation facilities. Either option presents a threat to the affordable and reliable electric generation Basin Electric’s members enjoy and that they continue to invest in,” said Dukart.

Basin Electric is committed to providing safe, reliable, affordable electricity to its members who serve rural America. The cooperative is working with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Lignite Energy Council, the states of North Dakota and Wyoming, and other utilities on a comprehensive approach to push back on these rules.

Because Basin Electric serves areas of rural America that endure extreme temperatures and other weather events, reliability is critical for commerce and basic survival. The cooperative utilizes an all-of-the-above energy strategy to provide reliable, affordable electricity to its 140 member cooperatives in nine states.

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