Gillette Welcomes Basin Electric's New Coal-Fired Power Plant

Basin Electric's $1.36 billion Dry Forks Station located in Gillette, Wyoming.
Without a cloud in the sky, marked by a surprisingly windless morning in Wyoming; Basin Electric CEO and general manager, Ron Harper, members of the Basin Electric cooperative, along with state dignitaries and citizens, dedicated the new $1.35- billion Dry Forks coal-fired power plant just six miles north of Gillette.
In what could be considered the last permitted coal-powered plant, the 385 megawatt Dry Forks facility was recognized for investing $336 million in environmental controls and a budget of $5 million annually to operate those controls regulated in part by Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, the State of Wyoming and the Environmental Protection Agency.

A crowd of over 1,100 good-humored people reveled in the finality the dedication provided, concluding over a half decade thronged with permitting issues and technical reviews and analyses of more than 12,000 pages that ultimately delayed the anticipated January, 2011 opening.

“There were amazing hurdles that had to be overcome to get the plant built,” said Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, “Coal is part of our past, present and future.” The Dry Forks facility, which employed 1,300 skilled workers from across the nation during the construction phase, will employ 85 people from the local Gillette community. The station, one of 135 member rural systems that distributes electricity in nine states, will supply enough whole sale power to service 308,000 homes.

For more about Basin Electric and the Dry Forks Station read ICOSA's next issue, Infrastructure: Building Tomorrow Today.