A recent report released by the North Dakota Transmission Authority forecasts that North Dakota will need an additional 2,059 MW to meet the growing demand from its oil and gas boom associated with the exploration of the Bakken shale. The report, Power Forecast 2012, can be found at the North Dakota Industrial Commission website.

Bakken Region Needs Additional 859 MW by 2017 and Another 570 MW by 2022

Power Forecast 2012 includes in its forecast the 22 North Dakota counties experiencing the most oil and gas activity. Expected load growth is as follows:

  • 2017—1,830 MW, an 88% increase over five years.
  • 2022—2,400 MW, another 31% increase over five years.
  • 2027—2,769 MW, another 15% increase over five years.
  • 2032—3,030 MW, another 9% increase over five years.

Projections suggest that by 2032 McKenzie County will have a 339% increase in electricity demands and Williams County a 232% increase.

Main Drivers Are Drilling Activity and Well Production

Power Forecast 2012 identifies four principal drivers pushing load growth and projects their impact in five-year increments (using approximations for data reported only in graphs).

Click here to view the table.

In addition to these drivers, employment (both temporary and permanent) is expected to climb over the next ten years when development is expected to taper off, with many permanent jobs replacing temporary jobs. Population in the region is anticipated to increase 52% over the next 20 years, with temporary residential population decreasing after ten years. Facilities related to oil and gas exploration, such as secondary and tertiary recovery, gas processing facilities, water treatment plants, and oil and gas pipelines, are included in the forecasted load demand.