Here at Black Hills Energy, safety and reliability are at the core of everything we do. We build and maintain our systems so that our customers can depend on us when it matters most.
That was evident last month when a historic cold event gripped much of the country. I was proud of our team as each of us stood ready to respond to dramatic increases in customer energy demand on our electric and natural gas infrastructure. Reliability, gas supply and operations team members continually monitored energy supply and adjusted as needed to support system integrity and meet extraordinary customer demand. Locally, technicians bundled up to physically inspect and monitor key infrastructure to be ready to respond.
"The integrity investments made in Wyoming in recent years played a key role in how well our infrastructure performed as our team worked tirelessly to help homes stay warm."
Mark Stege, Black Hills Energy Vice President of Operations, summed up those efforts well. “The integrity investments made in Wyoming in recent years played a key role in how well our infrastructure performed as our team worked tirelessly to help homes stay warm,” he said.
And that was especially important in the Cheyenne, Wyoming area, where Black Hills Energy is both the electric and natural gas utility. “As the cold set in and widespread customer demand for energy increased, our teams continued to deliver the most cost-effectively priced energy available. Our team of gas supply experts and our reliable infrastructure across Black Hills Energy’s eight state footprint performed well during this historic event,” he said.
As I watched the weather event unfold, I couldn’t help but wonder what the impact would be for data centers. I hoped that facilities in other regions were weathering the cold with backup systems in place. And I was thankful that true to our word, data centers here in Wyoming were able to continue serving their customers as we safely and reliably provided them with the energy they needed.
I was also reminded that we are a hearty bunch here in Wyoming. I had to smile when the local meteorologist commented that it was “a little chilly out there” as temperatures dipped to historic lows. But the funny thing is that our weather – while sometimes uncomfortable in the coldest months of winter – is ideal for data storage and processing loads. The elevation in Cheyenne is 6,100 feet and the climate is semi-arid. According to the National Weather Service, Cheyenne’s average annual temperature is 46.5 degrees, and we average only 10 days per year when the temperature exceeds 90 degrees.
I’m thankful that the historic artic weather is behind us, and even more grateful that we were ready to deliver on our promise to our customers.