The unit began commercial operation in 1980, the first of three built by the Missouri Basin Power Project (MBPP) on the Wyoming prairie near Wheatland. Basin Electric is the power plant’s majority owner and operating agent for MBPP.
Unit 1, like its sister units, was built with a generating capacity of 550 megawatts, but was rerated earlier this year following turbine work and the relief of transmission constraints in the region. All three units now have a rating of 570 megawatts.
Plant Manager Brian Larson says many Laramie River employees were raised on Unit 1. “Similar to what the Dry Fork Station employees will experience in the near future, we were very excited when our efforts finally paid off. We felt a great deal of pride sending electricity out on the power lines to the benefit of half a million consumers.
“Unit 1 is in great shape after 30 years and ready to provide many more years of reliable service.”
Here’s some video Levi Mickelsen, results engineer at Laramie River Station, took on June 17, 2010.
This was the day of the highest levels of water running from the Laramie River into the Grayrocks Reservoir. Water was flowing toward Grayrocks at 5,200 cubic feet per second, and flowing out of Grayrocks at 4,200 cubic feet per second.
You’ll hear some discussion about water levels in the video. Mickelsen explains that while Grayrocks Reservoir is designed to be considered “full” at 4,404 feet above sea level, it can go eleven feet higher than that before it’s at emergency levels; on this day, it was at 4,406 feet.
The picture below was taken on July 23, 2010, once inflows had dropped.