Black Hills Corp. receives FERC approval for Wygen I power purchase agreement
Black Hills Corp. recently announced that utility subsidiary Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power Co., doing business as Black Hills Energy, and power generation subsidiary Black Hills Wyoming received approval of their joint application for a proposed 60-megawatt power purchase agreement from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Under the approved agreement, Black Hills Wyoming will continue to deliver 60 megawatts of base load capacity and energy to Cheyenne Light from its Wygen I power plant. The new agreement will commence on Jan. 1, 2022, replacing the existing power purchase agreement, and will continue for 11 years, ending Dec. 31, 2032. The Wygen I power plant is located near Gillette in northeast Wyoming and is a mine-mouth operation with the adjacent mining complex.
“This new contract will provide critical capacity for our Wyoming electric utility,” said Linn Evans, president and CEO of Black Hills Corp., in a news release. “The Wygen I power plant is an extremely reliable, low-cost source of electric base load capacity and energy for Cheyenne Light, and is the best long-term choice to cost-effectively meet our customers’ current and future needs.”
Cheyenne Light believes its long-term electric capacity and energy needs are best met utilizing a balanced mix of generation resources, including natural gas, coal and renewable resources. The utility identified a near-term generation base load capacity shortfall of 60 megawatts stemming from expiration of the existing Wygen I power purchase agreement.
The new long-term power purchase agreement will provide the capacity and energy needed to help maintain grid stability and resiliency as Cheyenne Light integrates more intermittent renewable resources into its generating fleet. Cheyenne Light currently has 25 megawatts of wind generation resources on its system and is planning to add 20 megawatts of renewable wind energy when the 52.5-megawatt Corriedale wind project that it will jointly own with its affiliate Black Hills Power comes online later this year.
CO-OP insurance company begins operations in Wyoming, expanding coverage options
Starting this November, Wyoming residents will have a new option for health insurance. Mountain Health CO-OP, a member-governed nonprofit health insurance company, will begin offering health coverage for the 2021 year to individuals and employer-paid plans.
Initially formed in Montana, the CO-OP expanded into Idaho and currently operates with 32,000 members between the two states. The CO-OP was approved this spring by the Wyoming Department of Insurance to begin selling plans for the 2021 year.
Some of the unique features of CO-OP plans include vision and dental exam reimbursements; 100% coverage on most insulins, many heart medications, inhalers and hundreds of other prescription drugs; as well as a 24/7 telehealth benefit for medical and behavioral health that empowers members to speak to licensed doctors anytime, anywhere.
“Having another carrier in the marketplace not only reduces costs through marketplace competition for all Wyomingites, but it offers choice, which is something everyone deserves when purchasing health care insurance,” said Richard Wessenberg, Wyoming sales executive, in the release.
The CO-OP has an office in Cheyenne, and currently has three staff members: Morris McGaugh, Dr. Marion Smith and Richard Wessenberg.
Wyoming residents and employers can find more information about the Mountain Health CO-OP and coverage options at mountainhealth.coop, in person at 1459 Stillwater Ave. in Cheyenne, or phone 307-275-3596 or 855-447-2900.
The Wyoming Veterans Commission recently announced that Brian Allen has been hired as its new Highly Rural Transportation Program Coordinator. Allen will work with transit providers who will provide transportation for veterans to their appointments at no charge to the veteran. The Highly Rural Transportation Program is a federal grant under the Department of Veterans Affairs that appropriates funds to provide transportation to VA or VA-approved medical appointments for veterans of highly rural counties in Wyoming. ... The Wyoming Combat Sports Commission has announced that Gov. Mark Gordon has appointed Cheyenne attorney Caroline Shanor to be the first woman member of the board since the CSC, and its predecessor the State Board of Mixed Martial Arts, was created in 2012. Shanor is the founder of The Shanor Group, a female-owned and operated oil and gas law firm. She was awarded Wyoming Women of Influence Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019. ... The Wyoming Women’s Business Center has announced that its board of directors has appointed Wendy Fanning as the new executive director, effective Oct. 12. Fanning grew up in Nebraska, and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts/Humanities from the University of Wyoming and graduate work in American Studies and Women Studies. She has over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, including most recently as the director of development for the Boys and Girls Club of Cheyenne.