To keep up with the booming oil growth in western North Dakota additional transmission lines need to be constructed to improve system reliability. Basin Electric is working to get a new 345-kilovolt line built, but the process of acquiring easements has become a more difficult task.
A story in the January-February 2013 issue of Basin Today magazine, Easement challenges could mean delays and increased power costs, explains why.
“The biggest challenge we are currently running into out there is landowner fatigue,” says Mike Murray, Basin Electric property and right of way supervisor. “They’re overwhelmed. Every other day, someone different is knocking on their door requesting a property right or permission to do something and they’re really getting tired of it.”
Dale Niezwaag, Basin Electric senior legislative representative, echoes Murray’s comments. “People in the area have been inundated with requests.” Niezwaag says the easement payment offers landowners get from oil and pipeline companies are difficult to compete with. “We offer what we think are fair prices for the easement, but not over inflated.”
Murray adds that Basin Electric recognizes how much impact the land and the landowners have endured. “They live out in what used to be quiet western North Dakota, and now there are trucks going up and down the roads, there’s scars all over the property (from oil development). You do have to be sympathetic to the landowner at the same time knowing that we still need to progress, and we still need to meet our members’ needs,” Murray says. Read more.