Electric Load Demands | VideoJennifer Joas | 10/23/2012
Electric companies will have to triple the load in the next 20 years, and company executives say they`re ready for the challenge.
Everything will grow; the population is expected to increase by 66,000 people in oil producing counties, there will need to be an additional 30,000 housing units, and oil wells will grow by 29,000. Adding all that infrastructure boils down to needing more electricity.
"Our study validates thorough input through oil producing companies, midstream companies, right down to drillers, that this is a asset commitment that`s worth it," said Niles Hushka, KLJ CEO.
Kadrmas Lee & Jackson got input from the oil and gas industry on future growth, worked with UND to study depletion curves for existing wells and looked at NDSU`s population projections to complete the study.
Montana-Dakota Utilities and Basin Electric agree they can handle the growth, but recognize this is unprecedented.
"We`re continually planning, we`re continually upgrading. At the same time then we assess what our actual loads are and then we re-forecast. And again this study provides another validation and data point as to what other eyes are looking at," said David Goodin, MDU President and CEO.
Both companies are looking at expanding operations to meet current and future electric demands.
Basin Electric is building peak stations near Williston and Watford City, working to secure rights of way for transmission and seizing the excess power supply in neighboring states to the east.
"Because of the time horizon and the speed at which this generation is needed, we`re purchasing power. We`re purchasing excess power at a fairly low competitive rate," said Andrew Serri, Basin Electric CEO and General Manager.
The electric load growth study predicts growth for the next 20 years, but concludes the majority of that growth will happen in the next 10, with the biggest impacts being in Williams and McKenzie Counties.
Another challenge for electric companies is securing right of way agreements with land owners. But both company executives agree it`s a challenge they can overcome.