New transformer at Dickinson substation energized

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A second 230/115-kilovolt (kV) transformer at Basin Electric’s Dickinson substation was energized on March 16.

The transformer was added to the existing substation after the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) identified an overload condition on the existing transformer due to the addition of the Brady II wind project, which is owned by NextEra Energy and the output purchased by Basin Electric.

“SPP determined that adding a second transformer would be more beneficial than upgrading the existing one,” said Ryan Drevlow, Basin Electric electrical engineer II.

Work on the project began in 2019 after the network upgrades agreement was signed and construction began in the spring of 2020. Drevlow said the project included a lot of coordination with the Western Area Power Administration, the transmission operator, and Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU), which own a 115-kV line that needed to be moved to make room for the new transformer. MDU’s 115-kV line is now energized via the new 230/115-kV transformer.

The final step in the project is the construction of Basin Electric’s new 115-kV line. Drevlow said construction is scheduled to begin in mid-April and should be completed by June. “We’ve been blessed with good weather during construction” he said. “The project is in the home stretch with about three-quarters of the work complete.”

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