NIPCO Energy Trail Tour

  • Posted: 09.07.2016
North West REC member-owners Shellie and Loren Vander Schaaf capture their experience of the Antelope Valley Station model room in a "selfie".

30 Year of Energy Trail Tours

NIPCO partnered with its member cooperatives to educate member-owners on cooperative history and power.

For many years, member-owners traveled, round-trip, to Oahe Powerhouse and Dam in a single day. By 1987, it evolved into the three-day excursion that it is today, which continues on to Beulah, North Dakota, in the heart of North Dakota’s Energy Trail. Basin Electric Power Cooperative, who provides 80 percent of NIPCO’s power supply, owns many generation facilities and energy-related subsidiaries in this region.

Eighty-six member-owners, representing distribution and municipal electric cooperatives from NIPCO and neighboring Corn Belt Power Cooperative in Humboldt, had the opportunity to meet some of the people responsible for providing the power that is delivered to their homes, farms, and businesses. The two tours held this summer, demonstrated, first-hand, the value of an electric generation portfolio that includes coal as a part of America’s energy mix. Three days of experiencing the passion, innovation, and dedication of their power providers helped to educate members about electric generation in a carbon-constrained world. 

The 2017 tours showcased generation facilities that included hydropower at the Oahe Powerhouse as well as coal-fired generation at Antelope Valley Station in Beulah, North Dakota. At Dakota Gasification Company, located adjacent to Antelope Valley Station, tour participants learned about coal gasification and the many products manufactured through this process. 

A short trip just up the road to Coteau Properties’ Freedom Mine allowed member-owners to see the mining process of the area’s lignite coal. Mining has brought new prosperity to this region while preserving the environment through careful land reclamation efforts that return mined land to its original purpose. In many cases, reclaimed land is as productive, or better, than before it was mined. 

Energy Trail Tour participants also learn about wind generation and the importance of renewable energy resources in America’s overall energy mix.

Over the course of three days, members learned about rural electric cooperative history, gained a new understanding and pride in cooperative ownership, and engaged with other fellow member-owners. 

2018 Energy Trail Tour dates have been set for July 11-13 and August 1-3. For information on how to participate, contact your cooperative.