April 2, 2009

GRE, Basin Electric shut down plants after dam goes to zero release

By Danielle Abbott

With recent flooding along the Missouri River in the Bismarck and Mandan areas, the U.S. Crops of Engineers made history on Tuesday when they shut down the flow of water coming out of the Garrison Dam and into the Missouri River, eliminating the flow to zero cubic feet per second. The stopped flow of water had major affects on the southern part of the state, and when battling massive ice dams along the Missouri, this stop caused huge benefits to flood victims and communities. With no water coming into the Missouri, local residents closer to the dam were feeling the negative impacts. Due to the zero output from the dam, two major power plants near Stanton were forced to go offline and shut down operations on Thursday. The Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Leland Olds Station and Great River Energy plants both shut down beginning at 8:45 a.m. when Basin Electric took their first unit offline. GRE shut down their first unit at 11 a.m. and their second boiler unit was taken offline at noon. Due to different intake levels for the two units at Basin Electric, they were able to keep their unit two operational until 2:30 p.m. Thursday. With their facility completely offline, Basin Electric spokesman Darryl Hill said, "This is the first time that we have ever had to take both units offline due to the situation with water levels." When asked if the plant ever planned to be in this situation with low water levels causing both units to go offline, Hill said, "I don’t think anybody did. This is the first time in the history of the dam that they have ever shut the dam completely off."

The Weather Network