Where NIPCO Gets Its Power
In the energy industry, Generation & Transmission Cooperatives (G&Ts) secure long-term, all-requirements contracts with their power providers in order to maintain an affordable and reliable power supply for their members. This helps to keep rates stable over a long period of time as well as guarantees a source of electric generation which meets the growing electric needs of its members. More than 83 percent of NIPCO’s operational costs are attributed to purchased power from those power suppliers.
Originally, the Missouri River dams supplied all power requirements for NIPCO's members. In the 1960s, load growth studies indicated the NIPCO members soon would outgrow their hydropower allotment. A new power source was needed. Cooperative leaders from eight states worked together to form Basin Electric Power Cooperative, which is headquartered in Bismarck, ND. Basin Electric built generating plants using sophisticated equipment to protect air quality. Basin Electric now supplies power to 138 rural electric systems in 9 states which, in turn, serve 2.9 million consumers. Basin Electric's power plants have received national recognition for efficiency, low-cost production, and environmental stewardship.
Today, Missouri River hydropower supplies 25 percent of the energy needs for western Iowa's electric cooperatives. NIPCO purchases over 20% of its electric generation from Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), headquartered in Watertown, SD, which manages the energy generation.