Montana-Dakota Utilities Heskett 4 plant construction complete

Published on July 10, 2024 by Liz Carey

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On Monday, the 88-megawatt simple cycle combustion turbine constructed by Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. was ready to generate power, officials said.

Construction on the $69 million facility was completed, and the electric generating unit was ready to provide power to customers, officials with Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. said. The natural-gas fired electric generation facility near Mandan, N.D., is located on existing company-owned land beside an identical combustion turbine that went online in 2014. The new facility was built to provide more power to meet current customer needs, and replaces retired coal units that were location on the site.

“This new facility will add to our generation portfolio and provide our customers with a cost-effective capacity resource for many years into the future,” Darcy Neigum, vice president of electric supply for Montana-Dakota Utilities, said. “With this project we were able to capitalize on the location and achieve cost efficiencies by sharing facilities, such as the natural gas supply pipeline, electric transmission and existing employees.”

The plant will serve as a peaking plant, and be called into service only when the company’s electric demand reaches its peak. Officials said the unit can be called upon to produce power within 30 minutes.

Part of the R. M. Heskett Station, MDU scheduled the coal plant for retirement in 2021, with its last known operation date being Feb. 24, 2022. After the closure of the coal plant, the station continued to send power via its existing natural-gas fired unit. Heskett 4 was added in 2023. Both units are peaking plants.