Leland Olds had vision for energy future
By LEE COLEMAN
The future of electricity in North Dakota started with a vision from Leland Olds well over 60 years ago, and today, North Dakota is the preeminent producer of coal-burned electricity.
Today, as drivers navigate the Highway 200 alternate near Stanton, the chimney stacks at the Basin Electric Power Cooperative-owned Leland Olds Power Station are a reminder of the past and an electrical cog for the future.
“Leland Olds was an administrator in the federal government that came to the rural cooperatives back in the late ‘50s and said they had been relying on federal hydroelectric as a source of electricity,” recalled Curt Pearson of Basin Electric. “He told co-ops that they needed to start developing their own electric generation. He was one of the men to get co-ops to start moving towards using lignite coal to generate electricity.”
Built in 1966, the Leland Olds station remains a viable source of electricity. Burning about 12,000 tons of coal a day, the employees of Leland Olds remain the key for electricity generation at the plant.