New Black Hills electric utility

Black Hills Corp. announced recently that its new generation facilities commenced commercial operations from Jan. 1, 2012. Black Hills Energy-Colorado Electric owns the $227 million, 180-megawatt facility, and Black Hills Colorado IPP owns the $260 million, 200-MW facility. The electricity from both facilities is a replacement for a purchase power agreement with Xcel Energy that expired on Dec. 31, 2011. Black Hills Energy will purchase 200 MW of natural-gas-fired generation from Black Hills Colorado IPP under a 20-year agreement.

The two power plants are co-located at a site near the Pueblo Memorial Airport. Black Hills Energy-Colorado Electric owns two 90-MW, natural-gas-fired units, and Black Hills Colorado IPP owns two combined cycle units, each consisting of two 40-MW natural-gas-fired turbines and one 20-MW steam turbine.

To date, all of the units have been synchronized to the grid, tested at full output and dispatched for test energy. Final remaining activities include completion of performance and emission testing and ensuring compliance with all air emission requirements.