Black Hills Energy completed its rebuild of an eight-mile transmission line, parts of which were 55 years old, and put the rebuilt line into service in mid-May.
Marc Eyre, vice president of electric operations in South Dakota, said the line connects three transmission substations and transports power throughout the region.
The two-phased project began in 2020, starting with a rebuild from north of Interstate 90 to the intersection of Omaha Street and Mountain View Road. The rest of the project to just south of Catron Boulevard was completed this year.
“We’re able to bring the line to today’s standards and be in a place where we can provide safe and reliable service for decades and far into the future,” Eyre said.
Eyre said the company does regular line patrols to look at wear and tear and potential liability issues.
He said the line is part of the company’s common use system, so it serves Black Hills Energy customers as well as other utilities. He said the cost of the line is recovered from those who use the line, which is reflected in the company’s cost adjustment summary.
He said the company continually plans for upgrades in the system.
“We’ve seen this year the importance of resilience and reliability in weather events that stress the electric grid,” Eyre said.
The company is currently working on a 230-kilovolt transmission line rebuild from Gillette to Rapid City, which would be separated into two phases. Eyre said part one will be a rebuild from Rapid City to Spearfish, which would begin in the fall, with phase two starting in 2022. He said completion is projected for December 2022.
Eyre said the company tries to schedule around peak demand times in the summer so there’s not a service interruption for customers.