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Recovered Energy

What recovered energy is:

  • Recovered energy is energy that would otherwise go to waste. It is also called waste heat energy or recovered energy generation (REG).
    • Recovered energy is used to produce electricity.

Recovered energy in North Dakota:

Heat Recovery Unit Goes Into Operation: Learn more about how REG works in North Dakota. Video courtesy of Basin Electric Power Cooperative.
  • North Dakota has the first recovered energy generation (REG) system that uses the Northern Border Pipeline, which is a natural gas pipeline that runs about 1,400 miles through several states and into Canada.
    • The pipeline angles across the southwestern part of North Dakota.
  • While natural gas is being transported through a pipeline, it needs to be compressed (its molecules packed together) every 40 to 100 miles in order to keep it flowing through the pipeline.
    • Compressor stations are located along the pipeline route.
    • The natural gas is compressed by using special turbines.
      • Hot exhaust is created in this process.
        • The exhaust temperature ranges from 850⁰ to 950⁰ F (Water boils at 212⁰ F).
          • If this exhaust is not recovered, it goes to waste.
    St. Anthony Heat Recovery Project
    St. Anthony Heat Recovery Project A closer look at Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s St. Anthony REG project. Photo courtesy of Basin Electric Power Cooperative.
  • Ormat Technologies developed a way to use waste exhaust from Northern Border Pipeline to generate electricity.
    • Basin Electric, a North Dakota utilities company, purchases the electricity from three REG sites in North Dakota: Manning, St. Anthony, and Zeeland.
      • Each site produces 5.5 megawatts of electricity for a total of 16.5 megawatts (3 x 5.5 = 16.5).
    • Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU) owns an REG system near Glen Ullin, North Dakota.
      • This heat-recovery generation station generates 5.3 megawatts of electricity.

How recovered energy affects the people of North Dakota:

U.S. map of natural gas pipelines and compressor stations
Compressor Stations in the US A 2008 map of natural gas pipelines and compressor stations for the United States. Map courtesy of U.S. Energy Information Administration.
  • Gas pipelines located in North Dakota are a ready source for recovered energy generation (REG).
  • REG is low cost, and no fuel is needed.
    • No pollution results from producing electricity by REG.
  • Recovered energy provides a reliable source of power.
    • Power would still be available during blackouts.
  • REG is a new technology with promising job opportunities in a growing industry.