Ranges at home on the range depend on Basin Electric Power Cooperative, as do other electric-powered items in nine states from Montana to Iowa to New Mexico. The consumer-owned power generation and transmission co-op provides power to 134 rural electric member systems, which serve about 2.8 million people. It had generating capacity of 4,715 MW (mostly coal-fired) in 2011. Basin Electric's subsidiaries include Dakota Gasification (which produces natural gas from coal), Dakota Coal (markets lignite and limestone), Basin Telecommunications (Internet access), Basin Cooperative Services (property management), Prairie Winds (wind power), and Souris Valley Pipeline (CO2 pipeline).
The company maintains 2,250 miles of high-voltage transmission, 66 switchyards, and about 150 telecommunication locations. It generates about 990 MW for participants in the Missouri Basin Power Project (a group of six regional, consumer-owned energy entities that built the Laramie River Station in Wyoming).
Basin Electric Power, like all power utilities, is under regulatory pressure to lower the carbon emissions from its power production. As part of its commitment to cleaner energy production, the company has established two wind power subsidiaries to build wind farms in the Dakotas. In 2011 the company opened the Crow Lake Wind Project (Nebraska) its largest renewable project to date, with 162 MW of power generating capacity. That year, about 16% of Basin Electric's generating capacity came from renewable sources.
In fiscal 2012 the company purchased 437 MW of its total capacity of 482 MW of renewable energy from wind power sources.
A rate increase for members and increased demand and higher commodity prices (for CO2 and other byproducts) lifted overall revenues by about 11% in 2011 and helped to increase net income.
Basin Electric's operations are overseen by a 10-member board of directors elected by and representing individual membership districts. Dakota Gasification and Dakota Coal have separate boards.
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