Board approves 2022 load forecast

At its January meeting, Basin Electric’s board of directors approved the member load forecast for 2022-2050. The forecast shows growth at 1 to 1.5% annually across the membership, according to Jay Lundstrom, Basin Electric lead load forecast analyst. Growth within Basin Electric’s service area in the residential and commercial sectors is above the national average.

Basin Electric brought in an external forecaster to look at the load as it relates to the Bakken oil field in western North Dakota and how the forecast for that field relates to others in the United States. “We wanted to compare where we think the loads are going to what the industry thinks,” Lundstrom said. “It turns out that for the most part we are fairly consistent with industry’s thoughts.”

This year’s forecast is more of a bandwidth, showing a conservative case and a case that takes into account new loads that are appearing quickly, such as crypto mining and economic development, for example, in western North Dakota. The low case is similar to the loads Basin Electric's membership has seen before, and the high case adds those new loads that have more uncertainty in how much load and the timing of when the load will come online. “It’s important to plan for the low end to ensure rate stability and for financial planning and the high end for power supply and transmission line planning, which ensures reliability. The actual scenario will likely be somewhere in the middle,” Lundstrom said.

The load forecast is the main tool used for power supply planning, financial forecasting, rate planning, and transmission planning.

Related Videos