Titled “What Made Your Megawatt,” the screen features a timeline with certain years as touch points. When a finger touches a year, some information pops up on the upper left hand of the screen, and on the upper right hand side pops up a pie chart showing the resource portfolio at that point in history.
For example, when you touch 1966, you see a photo of Leland Olds Station, Basin Electric’s first power plant. You learn that was the year that Leland Olds Station began sending power to an every-growing membership. You see that at that point in history, 44.6 percent of the energy sent to members was from hydroelectric dams and 55.4 percent was from coal.
Touch 2005 and you see a photo of that year’s Resolutions Committee, with a note saying that this was the year the Resolutions Committee voted to have 10 percent of the cooperative’s capacity come from renewables by the year 2010. At that time, 79.8 percent of the energy came from coal and 3 percent came from renewables.
Tracie Bettenhausen, Basin Electric senior staff writer/editor, spent some time at the booth to help people use the touchscreen. “People’s expressions would change when they realized what they were seeing. They had spent that morning at the Clean Power Plan Town Hall, learning about the challenges the co-op is facing when it comes to the Clean Power Plan not recognizing all the renewables development we did through the year 2012,” she says. “When they touch through the years on the interactive screen, it showed them just how much had been done by Basin Electric over that time and really made them proud of their co-op. Basin Electric’s energy portfolio has changed pretty dramatically over the past 10 years especially. The touchscreen kind of puts that knowledge right there at your fingertips, in bright colors.”
Communications and web staff are looking at further applications for the touchscreen, including the ability to use it on iPads in a more portable way.