The North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) unanimously approved a transmission project proposed by Basin Electric Power Cooperative during a hearing in Bismarck, ND.
Basin Electric has proposed construction of a 345-kV transmission line in northwestern North Dakota that will run approximately 200 mi from Antelope Valley Station (AVS) near Beulah, ND, to the Neset Substation near Tioga, ND. In addition, the project would also include construction of two new substations, modifications to three existing substations, river crossings, temporary construction staging sites, and other facilities. The proposed project would be located in portions of Dunn, McKenzie, Mercer, Mountrail and Williams counties in western North Dakota.
Increasing demand for electricity in the Williston Basin is driving the need for additional transmission capacity. Transmission studies have indicated that the current system is reaching its limit, and additional lines are needed. The new 345-kV line would also improve the reliability of the existing system.
“Basin Electric is extremely pleased with this decision. We appreciate the PSC's diligence and careful analysis of this important project. This approval is another step forward in our mission to serve northwest North Dakota and beyond with much-needed reliable power,” said Curt Pearson, Basin Electric manager of media and community relations.
In addition to PSC approval, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) also requires project review from the Rural Utilities Service, Western Area Power Administration and the U.S. Forest Service. NEPA requires the federal agencies to analyze the environmental impacts of their proposed actions through an Environmental Impact Statement process. “While the federal process continues, we remain committed to working with all parties – from regulatory agencies to landowners – to assure this project moves forward in a responsible and well-considered manner, with input from all parties,” Pearson said. Pending regulatory approval, Basin Electric planed to start construction on the AVS-to- Neset transmission project by Aug. 15.