Basin Electric employees present to future community leaders

Two Basin Electric employees participated in the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber EDC Leadership Program’s “Energy and Natural Resources Day” on Oct. 22.

The goal for the day was to provide information to the students about how energy and natural resources and their economics impact the Bismarck-Mandan community, how those impacts represent a broader energy picture, and to leave them with ways they can contribute to a positive energy future within their leadership roles in their communities.

Jean Schafer, Basin Electric senior legislative representative, gave a marketing and regional transmission organization (RTO) overview, explaining how markets work and what the attributes of coal, gas, and renewable energy are. She also explained what RTOs are and how they operate.

“It’s important for people to understand how electricity is generated and distributed and most people don’t unless you work in it,” Schafer said. “The addition of wholesale power markets further complicates the discussion. Once they have a basic understanding of how coal, natural gas, and renewables work together in a market, they realize why completely eliminating specific resources from the mix impacts the reliability and affordability of the power they receive.”

Garrett Schilling, Basin Electric power supply engineer II, was part of an energy roundtable with representatives from the Lignite Energy Council and the North Dakota Petroleum Council. As part of his presentation, Schilling discussed the strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities of renewable energy resources such as wind and solar.

“Energy is big industry in North Dakota and an important part of the communities where North Dakotans live,” Schilling said. “It is important that the leaders and future leaders of these communities have an understanding of what each of the resources in our portfolio has to offer.”