Williston Basin receives more transmission
Distribution success stories are everywhere in industry magazines these days. Transmission stories are harder to come by because they are fewer and farther between.
Basin Electric, however, is working to change that with a new proposed 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission project in North Dakota. The proposed line will run approximately 200 miles from Antelope Valley Station (AVS) near Beulah, ND to the Neset 345-kV Substation near Tioga, ND.
Basin Electric has identified the need for additional electric transmission capacity in northwestern North Dakota as a result of increased demand and to meet reliability and system stability requirements for the region. Investigations and analyses conducted for the overall power delivery systems found that without improvements, the flow of power along existing lines may result in local line overloads, especially in the vicinity of Williston, ND.The proposed line (and associated supporting infrastructure) should solve this issue.
The entire project will consist of constructing approximately 200 miles of new single circuit 345-kV and double circuit 345/115-kV transmission lines, the construction of two new substations, modifications to three existing substations, river crossings, temporary construction staging sites, and other facilities. The project would connect to the Integrated System at several locations, including Western Area Power Administration’s Williston Substation. The proposed project would be located in portions of Dunn, McKenzie, Mercer, Mountrail, and Williams counties in western North Dakota.
The AVS-to-Neset 345-kV Transmission Project includes three major components: approximately 200 miles of 345-kV transmission line, new substations near Williston and Tioga as well as additions to Basin Electric’s Charlie Creek Substation and Antelope Valley Station Switchyard. The major elements required for transmission lines to be constructed include regulatory approvals, surveying, line design, and right of way.
Both the Rural Utilities Service, acting as the Lead Agency, and Western Area Power Administration, as a Cooperating Agency, are evaluating the 345-kV project through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Approval from the North Dakota Public Service Commission is required to site the project. Both the federal and state processes require public notification and public meetings to gather input into their decision-making processes. Formal notices of the public meetings will be given through newspapers and radio advertisements in the future.
The right of way width will be 150 feet, which is approximately 18.18 acres per mile. The line will consist of mainly single-pole steel structures. Terrain will determine how many structures there will be in a mile, but will likely be five to seven per mile. H-frame structures may be used in areas of high relief. After land values are determined, landowners will be contacted to start the easement acquisition process. Basin Electric staff are giving landowners ample time to review and comment on the easement location. Payment for the easement will be made as soon as possible or at a later time, if requested by the landowner.
Finally, there has been a lot of discussion in the media and public surrounding a recently announced opportunity for North Dakota State University to study the Killdeer Mountain battlefield and surrounding area and Basin Electric’s proposed 345-kV transmission line.
Basin Electric does not wish to take sides in the issue, but does need to move forward with delivering power to member-owners.