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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, May 21, 2010
CONTACT: Leah Mohr, deputy executive director, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, (605) 773-3201 or (605) 280-4327

Permit for power plant in Brookings County approved by PUC

PIERRE, S.D. – The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission gave unanimous approval this week for a 300-megawatt power plant to be constructed near White, S.D. Deer Creek Station will be built by Basin Electric Power Cooperative and will use natural gas combined-cycle technology to generate power to serve its member load requirements.

The action came during a regular commission meeting in Pierre on May 18. Basin Electric submitted an application to the PUC in July 2009. The 10-month review of the project included analysis of the permit application by a five-member PUC staff team and a study by a 12-member local review committee to consider the social and economic effect on the area.

Construction of the plant is expected to begin in the summer of 2010 and continue for 18 months. Total cost to build the facility, including a natural gas and a water pipeline necessary for its operation, is $400 million. The plant will have a gas turbine generator that produces power; waste heat from that process will be used to make steam which will generate additional electricity through a steam turbine.

Representatives of Basin Electric answered questions from the commissioners before the vote on Tuesday. Local Review Committee member Tony Simons of the Elkton School District was also on hand for the discussion.

"This $400 million of investment and 30 full-time jobs are a nice benefit that can occasionally accrue from building a safe, reliable and affordable system," said PUC Chairman Dusty Johnson.

Steve Kolbeck, commission vice chairman, noted the detailed examination of the project. "I'm very, very impressed with the local review committee report," he said. "This is a good day for South Dakota to welcome a $400 million project."

"It was important for me to hear from the parties in this docket that the use of natural gas will not affect the price of natural gas to the consumers in South Dakota," said PUC Commissioner Gary Hanson.

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