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Amy Dalrymple, Forum News Service, Published October 23 2012

Western ND electrical demand set to triple in next 20 years

WILLISTON, N.D. – Electrical demand is expected to nearly triple in western and north central North Dakota over the next 20 years, fueled by oil and gas development and increasing populations.

A forecast released today says the 22 North Dakota counties in the Williston Basin will demand 3,030 megawatts of power by 2032, up from the current electric load of 971 megawatts.

The number of oil wells significantly affects the demand for electricity, along with the associated infrastructure such as compressor stations, salt water disposal sites, booster pumps and well pads. The forecast also considered population and housing projections.

The Watford City and Williston areas are expected to see the greatest increases. The forecast calls for a 339 percent increase in demand for electricity in McKenzie County and a 232 percent increase in demand for Williams County.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission received the report today. The North Dakota Transmission Authority commissioned the planning and engineering firm KLJ to develop the forecast.