Basin Electric board approves nearly $50 million to continue moving forward with transmission buildout

Increased load and continued growth in Basin Electric’s service area has led to the need for additional generation and transmission resources to meet the needs of the membership.

In addition to current and planned construction of generation resources, Basin Electric is on track to energize nearly 350 miles of high-voltage transmission line by the end of 2027.

“This is the most transmission projects we’ve had going on at the same time,” said Bobby Nasset, Basin Electric supervisor of Civil Engineering.

At the cooperative’s May board meeting, directors authorized material contracts amounting to nearly $50 million to continue moving forward with these transmission projects.

Following is an update of the high-voltage transmission projects underway. 

Leland Olds Station-to-Tande, a 345-kilovolt (kV), 175-mile transmission line and new 345/115-kV substation is needed  to enhance transmission load serving capability in ND and mitigate regional reliability constraints.This added infrastructure will help serve the growing load Basin Electric's members are seeing in the region. “We have analyzed over 640 miles of different routes to date,” Nasset said. “The final route selection will have to optimize the operation and maintenance requirements and minimize impacts to landowners, while meeting state routing requirements.” This project is scheduled to be energized in 2026.

The Roundup-to-Kummer Ridge 345-kV transmission project is needed due to load growth in western North Dakota. It will enhance the transmission load serving capability in the North Dakota and mitigate regional reliability constraints. “We have a final route and we received formal approval for the easement from the Three Affiliated Tribes in April, which was a big step for the project,” Nasset said. “We are currently procuring materials such as steel poles and conductors, and construction is planned to begin next spring when all the permitting is finished.”

The Tande- and Wheelock-to-Saskatchewan projects consist of two 230-kV transmission lines that are needed to enhance the export and import capabilities between the United States and Canada. “Right now we’re coordinating with SaskPower and landowners to select the border crossing locations,” Nasset said. “Once those are determined and we have preliminary alignments, we will submit an application to the Department of Energy to begin the federal permitting process. Our goal is to start construction in 2026.”

Leland Olds Station-to-Tande and Roundup-to-Kummer Ridge were approved through Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) Integrated Transmission Planning Process as projects that are needed to provide additional load support and power delivery as well as redundant circuits in case there are outages on other critical lines. The Saskatchewan lines were selected through the SPP Aggregate Transmission Service Study.

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