Construction of Black Hills Energy’s new, 147-mile electric transmission line from eastern Wyoming to Rapid City, South Dakota, is underway and will satisfy the increasing need for safe, reliable energy by customers along the route.
“This new transmission line will allow Black Hills Energy to meet our customers’ increasing need for more energy, and it will ensure we maintain our industry-leading reliability far into the future,” said Vance Crocker, Black Hills Energy-South Dakota vice president of electric operations. “This line not only will strengthen the energy grid, but also will promote economic growth in the region. Reliable energy is one of the first resources a new or expanding business looks for.”
The transmission line will stretch from a substation 50 miles south of Gillette, Wyoming, to Rapid City. Construction is well underway in Wyoming and has commenced in South Dakota. Most of the Wyoming construction is scheduled for completion this year, with the remainder of the line completed by mid-year 2017.
“Keeping the energy grid running takes careful planning, maintenance and investments in new infrastructure,” Crocker said. “We must anticipate customer needs well in advance and we cannot wait for a system to fail before initiating a process that can take years to complete. With energy usage approaching the limits of the existing system, the transmission line is critical for our customers.”
The final line route was based on valuable input from landowners and multiple state and federal agencies. “In determining the route, we considered land use, the environment, cultural and historical aspects as well as cost. This route ensures the best path to safe, reliable and efficient energy for all.”
Once the route was determined, the company began negotiating rights-of-way with landowners. “I’m pleased to say we were able to reach agreements with all landowners along the path,” Crocker said. “We sincerely appreciate the efforts they made to work with us.”
With 75 or more employees and contractors on site at any given time, the company’s first priority is always safety. “Our crews are fully trained and equipped to ensure public and crew safety, and we provided key safety information to landowners along the line.”
“We’re always here for our customers,” Crocker said. “Our energy is yours to promote new growth and a vibrant community.”
Black Hills Energy-South Dakota serves 70,000 customers in 32 communities in western South Dakota and parts of Wyoming and Montana.