When Gillette is referred to as the “energy capital of the nation,” it’s not just big talk. Thanks to many major players and the area’s rich coal reserves, more than 40 percent of U.S. energy production takes place here. Traditional mining is still going strong, and with new coal extraction technology and use the future remains bright for this bedrock industry. Many business in this industry are among Gillette's top employers.
Peabody Energy, Cloud Peak Energy Lead Producers
Peabody has three mines in the area. The biggest is North Antelope Rochelle, the largest and most productive mine in the country, which has produced more than 1 billion tons of coal since it opened. The company also operates the Caballo Mine and the Rawhide Mine, which, like North Antelope Rochelle, are known for their safety records and land-reclamation successes.
Cloud Peak has four mines in the basin, and controls 2.5 billion tons of recoverable coal, sought by energy producers for its low environmental impact when burned.
Dry Fork Power Plant
One of those users is the Dry Fork Station power plant north of Gillette. Basin Electric Power Cooperative is building the 385-megawatt, coal-fired plant at a cost of $1.3 billion, and will have around $334 million of environmental controls installed in the state-of-the-art facility, ensuring that it’s as environmentally sensitive as it is technologically advanced.
Gillette-Campbell County Airport
This area also benefits from a strong transportation grid. State and national highways complement a strong rail system, and the Gillette-Campbell County Airport takes care of the airways.
The airport, four miles northwest of Gillette, is served by both passenger and cargo airlines that include Great Lakes Airlines, which connects to United Airlines and Frontier Airlines hubs. The facility's meeting room can hold up to 40 people; its rentable T-hangars will accommodate most single-engine aircraft.