Built to Serve: President and CEO/general manager visit with the membership

Wayne Peltier, Basin Electric board president, District 9, and Paul Sukut, Basin Electric CEO and general manager, delivered messages of gratitude to the membership, determination to overcome current challenges, and confidence in the future of Basin Electric and its members at the Basin Electric’s 2017 Annual Meeting.

Read excerpts below.

AM2017-Peltier

Wayne Peltier

“In the last few years we’ve built and operated assets in response to members’ needs. Whether it was explosive membership load growth in the Bakken, urban growth, or load growth in the agricultural sector, the membership family has been there for each other time and again. We banded together to do what we needed to do.

“As we’ve shown time and time again, we will overcome these challenges. Innovation is happening throughout the membership and among our employees at each facility every single day. We’re planning for the future and adhering to a path of strategic cost management in order to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. And we do the right thing – both when it is easy, and when it’s hard.”

“We are facing some stiff challenges. Dakota Gas, which has provided great value to the membership in the past, is now challenged by low commodity prices. There’s greater fuel competition in the markets. With the volatility of wind generation, there is uncertainty for daily resource operation in the marketplace.”

AM2017-Sukut_710px

Paul Sukut

“Basin Electric and the membership face some challenges. For example, coal as a fuel source: Coal is forced to compete with wind in the market on a daily basis. We want to tease the entire economic life out of our coal assets, assets that you, the membership, built many years ago.

“We need to take the opportunity to put a new Clean Power Plan in place. We’ve had the opportunity to visit with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt three times this year. And with a friendly administration we need to work now to put a new rule in place. We need time and flexibility in a new rule to tease the entire economic life out of our coal plants, and we need time to allow us to innovate and show that we can, and will, reduce carbon dioxide emissions as we move forward.

“We’re also developing a strategic plan for Dakota Gas. We’ve owned the Synfuels Plant since 1988, and we’ve garnered $1.4 billion in benefits from it. The urea plant is really going to change the dynamics of Dakota Gas. It will become a fertilizer plant. But we must take a look at the Dakota Gas cost structure. We must lower costs so the plant can weather the volatility of commodity prices to ensure it remains an asset to the membership.

“This cooperative was founded by the membership from the grassroots, and that membership brings strength and diversity to the cooperative. We are financially strong, we have a strategic path, and I’m confident in that path.”

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