Dale Niezwaag, vice president of government relations, gave this year’s government action report. He started off by talking about the significant change Basin Electric has made to its generation portfolio in the last 20 years, which has been driven by member load growth.
“This has been done while more than doubling in generation size and keeping electricity affordable and reliable,” said Niezwaag. “And so far the transition has been made without a mandate.”
He noted that of all the sectors emitting carbon dioxide in the U.S., the electricity sector is the only one that has shown a steady decrease since 2005 (30% reduction).
Niezwaag also talked about policy drivers in the federal, state, and private sectors relating to a carbon-constrained future. He said that Basin Electric is not opposed to carbon reduction, but is concerned about cost, time, and reliability.
“We had the February event, and all of the sudden reliability came into a very short focus. Now it is starting to be a talking point with agencies, legislators, and regulators.”
Basin Electric promotes an all-of-the-above energy strategy that includes coal and natural gas, but is also focused on reducing carbon emissions. Niezwaag said that Basin Electric is fortunate to be operating in states where we get good support, especially from the Wyoming and North Dakota legislature.
“The Integrated Test Center that is hooked right on to Dry Fork Station, our plant in Gillette, and the State of Wyoming has been very generous and supportive of the efforts to test different technologies and find uses for captured carbon. North Dakota as well. We have support for coal plants, carbon capture, and through tax breaks and funding, so those two states have been helping us out.”