Need for Energy Increases Across the State - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Need for Energy Increases Across the State

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As the state of North Dakota continues to grow, the need for electricity is increasing exponentially.

"3,000 megawatts over the next 20 years, so we need to start building the right generation and transmission now so we can meet those needs in the future," says ND Public Service Commissioner, Brian Kalk. 

The Public Service Commission has the power to permit transmission lines that would move power from one area of the state to another.

"The commission has direct authority over MDU, Ottertail and Xcel Energy the regulated utilities to make sure they have enough generation and transmission to meet their customers needs," says Kalk. "We look at how reliable is the power? The grid has become more and more reliable every year but it's still not 100 percent. And it's never going to be 100 percent."

"Job number one is to keep the lights on," says Matthew Stoltz of Basin Electric Power Cooperative. "Our focus is on the Bakken area because those loads are growing so fast it's outstripping the ability of the transmission grid to serve them." 

Basin Electric says their peak load in the Bakken area was 600 megawatts this past winter, and in four years that is expected to double to 1,200 megawatts, 

"So as a point of reference, the city of Bismarck Mandan uses about 100 megawatts of load power under peak load conditions," says Stoltz. So, we expect to have 12 Bismarck-Mandan equivalents up in the Bakken area from an electric load perspective."

And the co-op is taking a hybrid approach to strengthen the system.

"You upgrade the existing system that you can, then you try to plan ahead and add in those new projects," says Stoltz. "And it takes about four to five years to get that in service. And in the mean time we can add those natural gas turbines."

Despite the challenges electrical providers and co ops are working to keep your lights on. 
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