It’s nothing to sneeze at

The first thing that might come to mind when you hear the word congestion is not being able to breathe due to hay fever or the common cold. Roadways can also be congested during a traffic jam when too many cars are plugging up the road or construction forces you to take an alternate route.

The concept is similar when referring to congestion in the energy industry – it’s the lack of ability to move electricity freely on the transmission system. “Simply put, congestion is the result of limited transmission,” says Alycia Kramer, Basin Electric supervisor of market analytics and strategy. “As more generation and load gets added to the power grid, the transmission system is running out of spare capacity, creating congestion.”

While congestion has always been present on the transmission grid, it has become increasingly problematic over the past five to 10 years as additional generation and load have come online. The buildout of wind and other generation projects, along with the addition of load, has been using up the existing margin on the grid. Insufficient transmission has been added as more generation and load is added to move the electricity generated to where it needs to go.

Find out which of the areas in Basin Electric’s service area are dealing with congestion and what that means to market prices, as well as what the co-op is doing to combat the $13.3 billion congestion is costing consumers across the country in Basin Electric experts explain transmission congestion in the spring/summer issue of Basin Today.  

Map depicting general location of transmission buildout in western North Dakota.


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