When Jay Lundstrom, Basin Electric senior forecast analyst, started his load forecast presentation to the Basin Electric board of directors in April, he knew the information was already outdated.
Just the day before, ONEOK, an energy services company, had announced a pipeline to carry oil directly from the Bakken to the Cushing, OK, port for export. At 500 miles long, ONEOK’s pipeline is not expected to face the scrutiny the Keystone XL has, according to Lundstrom. ONEOK’s pipeline will not cross the United States-Canada border, nor will it cross Nebraska, a state in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.
“We heard about it on Monday, and now we’re delivering estimates. Since it will carry 200,000 barrels a day, the pipeline could require 50 to 100 megawatts throughout our service area, and that’s a very rough estimate,” Lundstrom says.
These days when people talk about western North Dakota and the Bakken oil play in the Williston Basin, there is a sense of wonder at the level of development; and a sense of dread, at the inevitable and present issues with housing, traffic, crime, water use – simply every societal element of these rapidly burgeoning communities.