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Montana Public Service Commission Holds Listening Session on MDU's 2021 Biennial Electric Integrated Resource Plan

 

Shawn Conradsen, Savage Public School Board president, spoke about the huge loss in tax revenue due to closure of the Westmoreland Mine and the Lewis and Clark MDU Station.

The Montana Public Service Commission held a public listening session on Montana Dakota Utilities Co.'s 2021 Biennial Electric Integrated Resource Plan in Sidney April 18. Montana Public Service Commissioners Randy Pinocchi and Tony O'Donnell were instrumental in scheduling a session for the public with MDU to get information on the their plans for biennium.

Darcy Neigum, MDU Systems Operations and Planning director, opened the session explaining MDU's 2020-2021 Integrated Resource Planning (IRP), every odd year which was filed with the PSC on Sept. 25, 2021.

The least-cost modeling approach to determine future electric resource additions considering: forecasted customer energy and peak demand requirements; customer demand response and interruptible energy efficiency programs; existing generation fleet; new generation options, new resources, markets or resources requested by others for proposals; future sensitivity studies for risk and robustness.

Existing Generation Resources include: Coal fired:Big Stone Station, Big Stone City, SD; Coyote Station, Beulah, ND. Renewables include: Diamond Willow, Baker, MT; Cedar Hills,Ray, ND; Thunder Spirit, Hettinger, ND and Glen Ullin Recovery Plant, Glen Ullin, ND.

Natural Gas Combustion Turbines include: Glendive 1 and 2; Miles City; Heskett 3, Mandan, ND. Reciprocating Engines: Lewis and Clark 2, in Sidney and another in Poplar; plus mobile generators.

Thunder Spirit Wind was constructed in two phases. Phase 1 included 43 turbines for 107.5 megawatts and went online in 2015. Phase 2 included 16 turbines for 48 megawatts and went on in late 2018. Combined, the site is 155.5 megawatts and can produce enough energy to serve about 50,000 homes.

New Generation Alternatives suggested are: !. Simple cycle combustion turbine; 2. Combined cycle combustion turbine; 3. Reciprocating engine; 4. Coal with carbon capture ; 5. Coal without carbon capture; 6. Solar with storage; 7. Wind; 8. Biomass; 9. Response to Request for Proposal (RFP); Market purchases.

2021 IRP Two Year Action Plan:

Continue to evaluate the accuracy of its demand and energy forecasts and make improvements where needed.

Continue to implement existing, and evaluate new, cost-effective energy efficiency and demand response programs to meet the company's future requirements.

Continue with the design and development for a new 88 MW simple cycle combustion turbine at Heskett Station, Mandan, ND, to be online in early 2023.

Issue a new request for (RFP) of supply side resources prior to the next IRP.

Continue to study the need to install local generation projects, including community solar, throughout its service area to support load growth, mitigate transmission constraints and provide customer requested programs.

Continue to monitor the availability and price of energy and short-term capacity in the MISO market or through bilateral arrangements and will purchase additional capacity as needed to meet customer demand when economic to do so or necessary to fill short-term needs.

Continue to monitor the development of and impacts to the Coyote Station associated with changing economics in the MISO market and the next round of regional haze reductions and other changes of environmental rules for all generation sources and influence the outcomes where possible.

Continue to monitor new regional transmission organization (RTO) resource adequacy requirements associated with changing fleet fuel mix including seasonal variation and reserve margins. Included in the multi-season resource adequacy requirements may be the need to evaluate the conversion of Heskett 3 and 4 to dual fuel combustion.

Continue to evaluate solar and battery storage technologies and their potential for implementation within Montana-Dakota's system as generation and transmission devices.

Continue to monitor the impacts and benefits of its RTO transmission arrangements with MISO and SPP to ensure safe, reliable and economic transmission system for its customers.

Maintain the IRP Public Advisory Group to provide input to and review the company's future resource plans.

Richland County Commissioners Duane Mitchell and Shane Gorder spoke on the impact of losing the Lewis and Clark Station has had on the community, Sidney Sugars Incorporated, Westmoreland and the Savage School.

Savage Public School Board Chairman Shawn Conradsen informed the audience, "Savage lost $125,000 in tax base that we will not get back."

PSC Commissioner Pinocchi related several complaints and questions to the audience that he has received from the public concerning MDU's anticipated demand growth and the best path forward to set that demand.

 

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