Battle Lines vs. Power Lines: Part 2 - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Battle Lines vs. Power Lines: Part 2

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As Northwest North Dakota  continues to grow and develop the need for electricity grows exponentially.

"Having the transmission line like this gives us the ability to provide stability to the transmission system that is already in place," says Daryl Hill, Basin Electric.

By 2025 Basin Electric predicts its power demand will increase by 30 percent. To help meet the demand Basin electric has proposed a transmission line that they're calling the "AVS to Neset line," in a place which is lacking infrastructure.

"The infrastructure needs all three. The generation but still you have to have the ability to bring in other sources and that's what this transmission line will do. By bringing power from an existing resource that has the capacity up to an area that needs that," says Hill.

Now the 200-mile proposed transmission line will run 18 miles west of Killdeer up to Williston but it will all start here at the Antelope Valley Station.

Antelope Valley Station outside of Beulah is a coal burning power plant, with the ability and power to add another transmission line. Something Basin Electric has been planning for years.  

"We started analyzing this transmission line in 2011. The study application was submitted in
early 2013, 2 years after we had already announced this and well after public announcements had been made about the line in terms of environmental impact statement," says Hill.

But now Professor Tom Isern at North Dakota state University announced a historic study of the Killdeer Battlefield that could interfere with 8 miles of Basin's proposed corridor.

"Really we didn't hear about that study until virtually days before the Public Service Commission had their public meetings scheduled on this line," says Hill.

Despite being surprised by the study, Basin Electric says it has already gained seven and a half miles of easements of the eight that are within the study area, which Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk says is a positive.

"Every project we do whether it's a power line or a pipeline one of the questions I always ask percentage of easements they have. We aren't involved in easements at all but it's a nice way to gauge of how it is being received in the community," says Kalk.

And Hill says Basin Electric is more than willing to work with the various state and federal agencies involved in the permitting process.

"We have an obligation to serve. We have an obligation to get power up into that area so that the whole system doesn't go dark. Because nobody wins if northwest north Dakota is without power," says Hill.

The PSC has completed their hearings, but are still waiting on information that they requested from the Game and Fish Department, and the Historical society. Basin electric is also waiting on information from the Federal Government on an environmental impact study, and are hoping to start construction in 2014.

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