Basin Electric highlights service at 2017 Annual Meeting
Basin Electric’s 2017 Annual Meeting of the Membership brought in more than 1,000 member co-op employees, directors, public officials, and utility representatives, and featured several updates on complex issues and developments. The focus, however, was that Basin Electric was built to serve the membership.
Basin Electric board president Wayne Peltier, representing District 9 of Minnesota Valley Cooperative Light and Power Association, Montevideo, MN, stressed that cooperatives tackle every challenge they face together. “From the very beginning, through thick and thin, the membership has been there for each other,” he said. “As we continue to be good stewards of the membership’s assets, you must remember that this is your co-op. Basin Electric was built by you.”
This past year challenged the cooperative on several fronts. "Basin Electric and the membership face some challenges,” said Basin Electric General Manager and CEO Paul Sukut. “For example, coal as a fuel source. Coal is forced to compete with wind in the market on a daily basis. We want to tease the entire economic life out of our coal assets, assets that you, the membership, built many years ago.
"We need time and flexibility in a new Clean Power Plan rule to tease the entire economic life out of our coal plants, and we need time to allow us to innovate and show that we can, and will, reduce carbon dioxide emissions as we move forward,” Sukut said. “We’ve had the opportunity to visit with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt this year, and now we need to work to put a new rule in place.”
- Basin Electric hosted a social at its new Headquarters addition Nov. 7.
- Senior staff provided reports and spoke during panel discussions regarding operational excellence; supporting membership growth; financials; and government relations. They addressed how Basin Electric continues its history of pivotal decisions and triumph over daunting challenges; as well as continued efforts to build and maintain infrastructure for a continually growing membership; financial successes in a challenging year; and regulatory/legislative updates. The panel discussions included question and answer sessions with the members.
- Nick Brown, president and CEO of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) provided the keynote address. Brown stressed the power of relationships. “Never, ever underestimate the value of relationships,” he said before telling the audience about the history of SPP, its key focuses, and why it’s nearly impossible to look into the future of the electric industry because it is so volatile. He gave the example that SPP recently set a wind penetration record, or the total load served by wind at a given time, of more than 52 percent. “If someone would have asked me 10 years ago if that was possible, I would have laughed,” he said.
- The membership also heard from U.S. Sens. John Hoeven (R-ND), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and North Dakota Lt Gov. Brent Sanford.
- During the banquet on Nov. 8, Basin Electric presented the Cornerstone Award, the highest award given by the cooperative, to Bob Harris, the recently retired Upper Great Plains regional manager for the Western Area Power Administration.