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Associated Electric Cooperative begins self-operation of its Dell Power Plant

Dell, Arkansas – Associated Electric Cooperative began self-operation of its Dell Power Plant Oct. 1, continuing the safe and efficient operation of the 580-megawatt natural gas power plant that is an important part of its resources to serve member cooperatives in three states. 

Associated announced in May that it would end its operations and maintenance contract Sept. 30 with EthosEnergy, seeking to further enhance the value of the plant, a vital asset for members’ economical, reliable power supply.  


In June, Associated informed all EthosEnergy employees that they had the opportunity to retain their jobs with Associated, hiring 20 of plant’s employees.


“This transition has required the teamwork of staff throughout the cooperative, particularly human resources and power production staff, as well as the patience of EthosEnergy employees. Their cooperation is greatly appreciated,” said Gabe Fleck, senior manager, gas plant operations. 


Leading the change is Nathan Budreau as plant manager. Associated promoted Budreau, who was assistant plant manager at the cooperative’s 1,200-MW New Madrid Power Plant. Budreau and his family already have moved into their new home in the area. 


“Nathan has demonstrated strong technical and leadership skills during his career at AECI, and I am pleased that he is willing to assume these new responsibilities at Dell,” said Ken Wilmot, senior vice president and chief operations officer at Associated.  


Budreau began his career with Black & Veatch in 2002 before joining Associated in 2006 as a controls engineer. He moved to the New Madrid plant in 2008 when he was promoted to instrumentation superintendent. He advanced to electrical and instrumentation superintendent in 2012 and then assistant plant manager in fall 2016. In 2018-2019, he also stepped up to serve as interim senior plant manager at New Madrid. 


In addition to experience, Nathan holds associate degrees in general education and computer engineering technology; a bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering technology from Kansas State University; and a master's degree in general management from Southeast Missouri State University. 


“I want to acknowledge the efforts of the employees at the Dell plant during this transition and thank them, and now we need to get to working together to make Dell a top-tier power plant,” said Budreau. “Today is about the future and how we’re going to get to where we want to be.” 


Associated Electric Cooperative is owned by and provides power to six regional generation and transmission cooperatives, which in turn provide power to 51 local electric cooperatives serving more than 910,000 meters – more than two million people -- in three states. 


The Dell Power Plant is part of a diverse resource mix that includes coal, natural gas, hydropower and contracted wind energy, complemented by an integrated high-voltage transmission system and balanced with environmental stewardship. 


Associated has been part of the Dell community since it purchased the partially constructed Dell Power Plant in 2005. It finished the plant, which began commercial operations in 2007.  


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