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Our history of environmental stewardship

At Black Hills Energy, our mission of improving life with energy means we must be ready to make tomorrow even better than today.

Throughout our history, we have been strong environmental stewards. We’ve pioneered new power plant technology, set the bar for emissions levels and built infrastructure ahead of current standards.

Here’s a look back at our continuous work to minimize our environmental impact.

Black Hills Energy constructs the first air-cooled power plant in the United States, with water savings of 90% compared to traditional thermal cooled power plants.

Our team constructs the first large scale air-cooled power plant in United States.

We begin our tree planting program, which has avoided over 28 million pounds of carbon, filtered 80 million gallons of stormwater and saved 7 million kWh to date.

Black Hills Energy begins installing several Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations throughout our natural gas utility territories. These stations reduce emissions from our company vehicle fleet and give the public access to a cleaner fuel. We supply several privately-owned CNG sites as well.

We build the most emission-efficient power plant in the nation at the time, exceeding 1990 Clean Air Act standards. It includes a circulating dry scrubber ensuring reduced sulfur emissions by more than 90% as compared to older vintage plants – only the second power plant in the nation to use this technology.

Through energy partnerships with technology providers, Black Hills Energy beta tests flexible jet engine technology and demonstrates that the technology is the most emission efficient way to integrate wind generation. We use what we learn to help other electric utilities across the west integrate wind generation.

We begin our avian protection program, protecting thousands of migratory, threatened or endangered birds, raptors and waterfowl each year.

Our Wygen I power plant is the first in nation to demonstrate mercury emission scrubbing years ahead of EPA regulations for mercury emission limits.

Black Hills Energy starts exploring renewable natural gas projects, starting with a landfill in Lincoln, Neb.

We add 30 MW of wind energy to our fleet with the Happy Jack wind project through purchase power agreement.

The Silver Sage wind project adds another 30 MW of wind power to our generation mix through purchase power agreement.  

The EPA uses data from our modern Wygen power plant fleet to set mercury limits for Best Available Control Technology.

Black Hills Energy begins the process of bare steel and cast-iron pipe replacements, which reduces the risk of fugitive gas emissions.

Busch Ranch I is commissioned, adding 40 MW of renewable energy to our fleet.

Our 380 MW Pueblo Airport Generating Station is completed, utilizing the most energy efficient technology in the world.  The technology also provides us the flexibility to regulate intermittent renewable generation with ramp up rates of 30 MW per minute and the capability to be at full plant output in 10 minutes.

We retire 75 MW of coal-fired generation. Replacing these aged coal plants sets a new environmental benchmark for the Black Hills Energy fleet. 

We complete the Cheyenne Prairie Generating Station, our natural gas combined cycle power plant, to replace our retired coal plants. It utilizes new technology with manufacturer-guaranteed greenhouse gas emission limits and is the most fuel-efficient combined cycle power plant in the world for its size.   

All cast iron pipe in our gas distribution and transmission system is replaced.

Black Hills Energy enters Colorado’s Environmental Leadership Program at the highest level (Gold) and wins 24-Karat Award for project in 2014.

Peak View wind project is commissioned, adding another 60 MW of wind energy to our fleet.

Our team begins using sophisticated equipment for aerial surveys that goes beyond regulatory requirements to find small leaks in our pipelines.

Due to our replacement efforts of bare steel and cast iron, nearly 99% our natural gas infrastructure is now comprised of materials with the lowest emission factors.

Three renewable natural gas projects go into service including the landfill in Butler County, Neb; the water resource recovery center in Dubuque, Iowa; and the landfill in Sarpy County, Neb.

We add 89 MW of wind to our generation fleet with the Top of Iowa wind project.

Another 12 MW of wind energy is added to our generation mix through a power purchase agreement with the Silver Sage wind project.

Black Hills Energy starts using an additional 60 MW of wind energy through a power purchase agreement.  

Our Busch Ranch II wind project adds another 60 MW of wind energy to our fleet.

We launch ReadyEV, an electric vehicle charger rebate program, to increase adoption of electric vehicles.

Our 52.5 MW Corriedale wind project is completed.

We introduce thermal cameras for compressor station leak checks – going beyond regulatory requirements for inspections.

Two new renewable natural gas projects are planned to be in service by the end of 2020, including the water resource recovery facility in Lincoln, Neb. and the landfill in Dubuque, Iowa.

Black Hills Energy joins the EPA’s Methane Challenge, committing to three best management practices.

We sign on as the site host for a potential coal-fired flameless pressurized oxy (FPO) combustion research project, a new technology to cost effectively utilize coal with little to no emissions.