Work to be completed in central North Dakota

Otter Tail Power is working with Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. to develop, construct, and co-own an approximately 95-mile 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission line from Jamestown, North Dakota, to Ellendale, North Dakota. This project allows both companies to create a more resilient regional transmission grid while continuing to provide reliable, affordable electricity to its customers. We’ll lead the development and construction of the project.

The Jamestown-Ellendale transmission project will run from our 345-kV Jamestown substation to Montana-Dakota’s 345-kV Ellendale substation.

This is one of 18 transmission projects recently approved by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO)—which performs regional transmission planning, manages the generation and transmission of high-voltage electricity, and oversees an energy market across 15 states in the Central U.S. and the Canadian province of Manitoba—as part of its first phase of the multi-year Long-Range Transmission Planning (LRTP) initiative. Both our company and Montana-Dakota are members of MISO.

Working together to support grid resilience

MISO’s approval marks the beginning of the companies’ collective efforts to develop the project, collaborate with landowners, and request permission from regulatory bodies, including the North Dakota Public Service Commission, to own, construct, operate, and maintain the project, which MISO estimates will cost approximately $439 million.

“This project, along with the other phase one LRTP projects, will help ensure a reliable, resilient, and cost-effective transmission system, benefiting not only our region and customers but also surrounding regions and customers—all while ensuring we continue to provide affordable electricity,” said President Tim Rogelstad. “We’ve worked with Montana-Dakota in the past, coordinating the successful completion of the Big Stone South to Ellendale 345-kV transmission project, and we look forward to collaborating with them on yet another significant project.”

“This project will bolster connections between existing 345-kV systems in the state and relieve excessive loading on the 230-kV system, which will help increase the movement of electric energy out of North Dakota and South Dakota, reduce congestion, improve fuel savings, and maintain the reliability of the transmission system in the future,” said Montana-Dakota President and CEO Nicole Kivisto. “We look forward to working with Otter Tail Power on another important piece of infrastructure for the region.”

Developing and constructing transmission is a multi-year effort, and the companies are currently targeting an in-service date of late 2028. Our company and Montana-Dakota expect to begin coordinating with landowners, local governments, agencies, and other interested parties in late 2022. The project will create several jobs and provide millions of dollars in economic benefits to the local area.