North Dakota: Basin Electric seeks state approval for power plant expansion to accommodate burgeoning data center industry

Dec 19, 2022 | Posted by MadalineDunn

Basin Electric has reportedly reached out for state approval for a power plant expansion in McKenzie County to accommodate the growing power requirements of the data center industry. The state Public Service Commission (PCS) received the company's expansion request back in October, which would see it expand the capacity of the Pioneer Generation Station from 242 megawatts to 583 megawatts. This addition, namely the Pioneer Generation Station Phase IV, is a $670 million project which would see a 141% increase in capacity. Basin aims to begin construction next April, with the first phase complete by August 2025 and the second phase in service by 2026. 

The expansion request reportedly comes in response to the northwestern North Dakota area experiencing a rapid increase in the development of server farm facilities, hosting both data centers and cryptocurrency mining. Likewise, Basin outlines in its application that it would help to improve the reliability of service in the area.

In a statement, Basin CEO and General Manager Todd Telesz said: "Our cooperative members in western North Dakota and eastern Montana continue to grow quickly due to economic development related to oil and gas, and also more recently, data storage and the ancillary services that go along with this development." Further to this, Telesz said that the new gas power generation facility would help provide support for the "ongoing gas development in that area as well as new enterprises." He went on to call the application "pretty interesting, [and] exciting."

The PSC is to hold a public hearing on the project at 9 am on Thursday, 5 January, at Williston City Hall in the John Kautzman Chamber Room.