Company officials broke ground on the new Cheyenne Prairie Generation Station Project on Campstool Road Wednesday morning.

The new station, a joint project of Black Hills Power and Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power, will be a natural gas powered facility. The station is expected to be operational by the end of 2014, generating electricity for both the Cheyenne area as well as Black Hills Power customers in Wyoming and South Dakota.

Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power President Mark Stegge says the new plant is a state-of-the-art generation facility featuring the best new technology and the lowest emissions possible.  David Emery of Black Hills Power says the station will help replace the power generated by three coal fired plants which are being retired because they couldn't meet federal EPA environmental regulations.

Emery says the plant will actually consist of two units. The first, a combined cycle plant, will be generating electricity most or all of the time. Emery says the second unit is known as a peaking unit, solely owned by Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power. That unit will be activated at time of peak demand, such as very hot or very cold weather. Stegge says that unit can be activated in as little as ten minutes as needed.

Officials says the project will create roughly 300 jobs during the construction phase, and then about a dozen jobs once it is operational.