Environmental Review for New Transmission Line

Location: Northwestern North Dakota

Client: Basin Electric Cooperative

Completion Date: 2013

The latest load forecast indicates an acceleration of growth in northwestern North Dakota due primarily to the development of the Bakken Shale oil field. An analysis of transmission line capacity shows that by 2016, the load will have increased beyond the capacity of the existing transmission system for the Williston/Tioga region.

To serve the region, Basin Electric has determined that approximately 190 miles of new 345-kV transmission line starting from the Antelope Valley Station electrical generation facility and connecting to a substation near Williston and then extend to a substation near Tioga would be required.

Burns & McDonnell is working with Basin Electric Cooperative to complete the environmental review process that will satisfy Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) and Rural Utilities Services (RUS) requirements. The project includes agency and public scoping, preparation of a macro-corridor analysis and alternatives evaluation study, scoping summary report, and environmental reports for use by the third-party contractor to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) documents. In addition, Burns & McDonnell is preparing the state siting application and obtaining permits for construction.

  • Agency coordination
  • Assistance at scoping meetings
  • Environmental analysis
  • Threatened and endangered species surveys
  • Public hearing
  • Cumulative impacts
  • Draft and final environmental reports
  • Administrative record

From a reliability analysis, the existing high voltage system in the Williston/Tioga region consists of a 230-kV system that connects to Saskatchewan; Minot, N.D.; and Killdeer, N.D. Outage of any of these paths will cause low voltage criteria violations and overload adjacent transmission lines in the Williston/Tioga region.

The primary issues facing the project include the effects of the project on the whooping crane and coordination with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the crossing of federal lands associated with Lake Sakakawea, national parks, designated scenic byways, national grasslands, the abundance of oil wells, and developed areas near Williston.