Power Brownouts Feared in Eastern Montana, Bakken Region

Aaron Flint posted on March 11, 2014 14:53 :: 5493 Views

Electric power brownouts are feared in Eastern Montana and the broader Bakken oil region. This, according to Montana Public Service Commissioner Travis Kavulla (R-Great Falls) who discussed the issue in an in-depth interview with Emilie Boyles for Marks Group Broadcasting based out of Glendive. 

Kavulla says oil and gas development has powered 6% annual growth when it comes to the electric demand in the Bakken region. While power providers like the North Dakota-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative have added electric generation capability, Boyles asks- “at what point will it be not enough?” 

Kavulla:  Very soon, and even next year.  It’s not necessarily even the lack of generation from Basin, because that they’ve been able to build fairly easily-it’s been the lack of transmission lines.  So for instance, the US Forest Service at the moment is holding a Basin line from being built across the grasslands in North Dakota. If that line is not in place by 2015 then you may see what we call involuntary loadshedding, brownouts.”

Boyles: Thats a term we hear from California.

Kavulla: That’s right, you’re not used to hearing that now, but compare that 6% annual growth to the rest of the country’s electric growth which is more like a half of a percent or one percent annually.  It’s just very hard for utilities to keep up building infrastructure, especially infrastructure that needs easements over federal lands in that kind of environment.  And the feds, for what it’s worth, have just not I think realized the gravity of the situation. They certainly will if there starts to be brownouts, especially during winter months. 


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Photo courtesy of the Montana PSC


Lee Allmer

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 5:06 PM

And of course while the communities of North Eastern Montana have continually appealed for assistance with infrastructure development, they are ignored and have to turn to other states for help. Its not like the tax revenues are coming from the communities that need help…..oh wait, yeah they are. First schools, healthcare, housing, sewers, now we aren’t even going to have enough power.

All the while, sit ins happen in the capital from left wing conservationists trying to shut down coal power plant production. And, they complain that they are cold and want the heat turned up and power for their IPhones.

Lord we need to pray for the future generations.

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