Otter Tail Power Company announced it is working with Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. to develop, construct and co-own an approximately 95-mi. 345-kV transmission line from Jamestown, N.D., to Ellendale, N.D. This project allows both companies to create a more resilient regional transmission grid while continuing to provide reliable, affordable electricity to its customers. Otter Tail will lead the development and construction of the project.
The Jamestown-Ellendale transmission project will run from the Otter Tail 345-kV Jamestown substation to Montana-Dakota's 345-kV Ellendale substation.
This is one of 18 transmission projects recently approved by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) — which performs regional transmission planning, manages the generation and transmission of high-voltage electricity and oversees an energy market across 15 states in the central United States and the Canadian province of Manitoba — as part of its first phase of the multi-year Long-Range Transmission Planning (LRTP) initiative. Both companies are members of MISO.
Working to Support Grid Resilience
MISO's approval marks the beginning of the companies' collective efforts to develop the project, collaborate with landowners and request permission from regulatory bodies, including the North Dakota Public Service Commission, to own, construct, operate and maintain the project, which MISO estimates will cost approximately $439 million.
"This project, along with the other phase one LRTP projects, will help ensure a reliable, resilient and cost-effective transmission system, benefiting not only our region and customers but also surrounding regions and customers — all while ensuring we continue to provide affordable electricity," said Tim Rogelstad, president of Otter Tail Power Company. "We've worked with Montana-Dakota in the past, coordinating the successful completion of the Big Stone South to Ellendale 345-kV transmission project, and we look forward to collaborating with them on yet another significant project."
"This project will bolster connections between existing 345-kV systems in the state and relieve excessive loading on the 230-kV system, which will help increase the movement of electric energy out of North Dakota and South Dakota, reduce congestion, improve fuel savings and maintain the reliability of the transmission system in the future," said Nicole Kivisto, Montana-Dakota president and CEO. "We look forward to working with Otter Tail Power on another important piece of infrastructure for the region."
Developing and constructing transmission is a multi-year effort, and the companies are currently targeting an in-service date of late 2028. The companies expect to begin coordinating with landowners, local governments, agencies and other interested parties in late 2022. The project will create jobs and provide millions of dollars in economic benefits to the local area.
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