Bakken Area Program Management
HDR's fast-paced work in the Bakken region of North Dakota accommodates the rapid expansion of electrical infrastructure. Once a quaint, rural area, it is experiencing an economic boom fueled by access to the voluminous Bakken Oil Shale. Because this area was largely undeveloped, new construction is creating an unprecedented need for power for new commercial and industrial infrastructure.
In support of Mountrail Williams Electric Cooperative (MWEC), HDR is integrating an array of critical services for new transmission and distribution lines and substations. Work is executed using the spirit of a design-build model, where environmental compliance, engineering, land acquisition and construction occur nearly simultaneously. When completed, 165 miles of new transmission, 300 to 500 miles of distribution and nearly 30 substations will be added to MWEC's service area.
HDR's program manager stated, "What is going on in the Bakken area cannot be described; it must be experienced. The work we are doing now is the tip of the iceberg. With this recent boom, the region's rural electric cooperatives are under unprecedented pressure. HDR is contributing an extraordinary work effort to effectively support MWEC, a trusted client for over 35 years."
Key program highlights:
- Environmental and GIS experts delineated whooping crane habitat, working collaboratively with design teams to develop transmission line marking plans.
- As owner's engineer, we authored new substation standards. Standards are imperative because engineers are producing roughly twice as many substations per person than usual.
- Real estate and land acquisition information is being managed through HDR's proprietary iREALM program, which has helped to plan and acquire more than 300 easements.
- Creation of protective coordination schemes that provide sectionalizing and coordination for the power system.
- Hundreds of miles of distribution line staking and design across the region.
- Long-range and short-term joint system planning with regional cooperatives.