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ND PSC ruling advances Basin Electric project in the Bakken

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Basin Electric now plans for member loads in this area to grow to almost 2,100 MW by 2025.

Basin Electric has taken another step in providing much-needed electrical generation capacity in the Bakken.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission approved a certificate of site compatibility for Basin Electric’s Lonesome Creek Station Units 2 and 3 during its regular meeting March 26 in Bismarck, ND.

Lonesome Creek, a natural gas-based peaking station located west of Watford City, ND, started commercial operation of Unit 1 on Dec. 1, 2013. Units 2 and 3, part of the project’s Phase 2 construction, are targeted for completion in late 2014. Each of the three units will generate 45 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity.

The PSC’s approval means that Basin Electric has now secured all necessary permits for the Lonesome Creek Phase 2 project. Construction on Units 2 and 3 is slated to begin this spring.

“This latest nod of approval from the North Dakota Public Service Commission is an important step toward meeting our members’ power needs in eastern Montana and western North Dakota,” said Paul Sukut, Basin Electric interim CEO and general manager. “We will continue to look for ways to address this tremendous growth in the Williston Basin through the construction of additional generation and transmission, and purchasing power.”

The oil play in the Bakken formation covers parts of western North Dakota and eastern Montana. Crude oil production in the North Dakota has quadrupled since 2007. As a result of the drilling and production activity, electrical loads are growing rapidly. Basin Electric member cooperatives serve much of that load. In 2009 Basin Electric and its member systems planned for 400 megawatts of load to develop in this area. Basin Electric now plans for member loads in this area to grow to almost 2,100 MW by 2025.

In addition to the construction of Lonesome Creek, Basin Electric’s Pioneer Generation Station, a natural gas-based peaking station northwest of Williston, ND, is also providing 135 MW of generation capacity to the cooperative’s members in the Bakken.
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