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Studies Engineer

Location: Rapid City, SD, United States
Job ID: 32667
Date Posted: Jan 21, 2020
Salary: $80400 to $120600 annually

Job Description

In this important role the Strategic Economic Studies Engineer will analyze transmission expansions needed to address energy market inefficiencies, improve reliability, accommodate load growth and generation expansion on the three Black Hills Energy transmission systems using production cost modeling tools, and transmission planning software including but not limited to PROMOD, Plexos, and PSS/E or PSLF.

SALARY RANGE:   $80,400 - $120,600 (Determined by the knowledge, skills and abilities of the applicant.)

REPORTING RELATIONSHIP:   Wholesale Transmission Policy Manager

LOCATION: Rapid City, South Dakota: You’ll find that it is the ideal community to live, work and do business in. With hiking trails, the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park in your backyard, there are endless opportunities to enjoy nature. 

  • Rapid City - Hidden Gem of the West:  
  • Rapid City Chamber of Commerce:  
  • A Comprehensive Relocation Plan is offered for this position! Our benefits include but are not limited to: home finding trip, transportation of household goods, temporary housing expenses, destination apartment search assistance, paid time off to move, transition and spousal career support, home finder and purchase assistance, relocation adjustment allowance, destination new purchase closing costs. Depending on individual circumstances, our benefit may also include trips home during temporary housing, renter’s lease cancellation assistance, or home marketing and sale closing cost assistance and/or purchase closing cost assistance. Contents of our relocation program are subject to change and may vary based on position.


  • Analyze and assess the transmission system for congestion; to ensure operational reliability, adequacy, efficiency, and security, and the long-term needs of Black Hills Energy.
    • Develop an understanding of the Western Interconnection energy markets, and transmission system and generation fleet and its response under contingent conditions, perform production cost modeling analysis to identify economic opportunities to be addressed through transmission and/or generation solutions.
    • Summarize study findings in reports at the end of planning cycles
    • Collaborate with transmission planning engineers to identify and scope projects for potential studies.
    • Develop best cost facility addition plans.
  • Develop power system models
    • Design models representing transmission facilities, generation, loads, contingencies, and other power system components.
    • Formulate analytical techniques and study procedures.
    • Provide technical assistance and/or direction to other engineers, analysts, technicians and contractors.
  • Create presentations and present key analytical results and economic transmission planning updates.
  • Coordinate with Resource Planning to identify transmission system needs to be incorporated into the resource planning process
    • Perform analysis to support long range resource plans and assist in identifying the location, timing, and technology mix of the Company’s future resource needs.
  • Provide functional back up and support for Wholesale Transmission Policy Manager. 


  • Represent Black Hills Energy within external organizations dealing with transmission planning and modeling issues.
    • Attend industry and utility working groups and technical conferences on a local, statewide, regional, and national level.
    • Advocate for Black Hills Energy business interests at state regulatory bodies, advisory groups, and utility work groups.
    • Evaluate existing and proposed industry planning standards.
    • Provide technical assistance to working groups.
    • Monitor and coordinate regional transmission planning studies. 
  • Maintain positive working relationships with all Company employees; customers; and external contact; including regulators, regulatory staff and employees of other utilities.
  • Must be a team player with demonstrated interpersonal skill that works effectively in both a traditional reporting structure, as well as a matrix team environment.
  • Ability to establish and work effectively with internal departments such as Resource Planning, Regulatory, Legal, Electric Operations, Customer Service, Compliance, Generation Dispatch and Power Marketing and other applicable groups.


  • Five (5) or more years of progressively responsible experience in electric power industry resource or transmission planning is required with proven leadership and project management experience.
  • Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering or other relevant quantitative field (Economics, Mathematics, Statistics) required or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience performing economic transmission planning preferred.
  • Degree in electrical engineering (power systems emphasis) preferred.
  • Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering or other quantitative field preferred.
  • Licensure as a professional engineer is beneficial. 


  • Knowledge of electrical operations, transmission operations and planning, generation and load balance.
  • Knowledge of wholesale electric energy and transmission transactions.
  • Understanding of wholesale electricity markets including, RTOs/ISOs, and energy imbalance markets.
  • Working knowledge of FERC, NERC, WECC and other regulatory requirements for wholesale electric energy and transmission transactions. 
  • Strong organizational skills with high attention to detail.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills. 
  • Ability to develop and maintain strong working relationships with a diverse set of individuals.
  • Excellent customer relation skills.
  • Ability to work effectively in a team environment.
  • Ability to thrive in an environment of continuous change.
  • Proficiency in computer applications including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.


The mental and physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Mental Requirements:  Ability to understand, remember, apply oral and/or written instructions or other information, and communicate routine factual information. Ability to apply common sense in performing job functions, usually within a set of rules or guidelines.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is continuously (67% or more) required to: use fingers and hands, communicate, and have close visual acuity. Employee is frequently (34-66%) required to: ascend/descend stairs, position self to access lower items, and move about the office. The employee may occasionally (less than 33%) be required to: stoop, kneel, crouch, push, pull and reach. Employee must be able to operate routine office equipment including computers and similar equipment. Must be able to routinely perform this work for an average of 6-8 hours per day and occasional extended hours as necessary. Must be capable of regular, reliable, and timely attendance.

Specific lifting abilities required by this job include:  Sedentary work. Exerting up to 10 pounds of force occasionally and/or negligible amount of force frequently or continuously to lift, carry, push, pull or sitting most of the time. Jobs are sedentary if walking and standing are required only occasionally and all other sedentary criteria are met.

Work environment:  Must be able to routinely perform work indoors in climate-controlled shared work area with moderate noise level.  Must be capable of up to 10% travel (e.g. 2 days/month) by automobile (as driver and passenger), commercial airlines, rental vehicles and public transportation and be able to lodge in public facilities. Travel will be necessary to conduct the duties of this job, and the employee must have the ability to drive and have proper licensing.

This description is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of responsibilities, duties, and requirements for employees in this position. Job descriptions may and do change periodically.

About our Company: We are a customer focused, growth-oriented utility company that is devoted to our communities. We have a mission to improve life with energy and a vision to be the energy partner of choice. Our diverse culture sparks unique perspectives, opening doors to new ideas and possibilities. Based in Rapid City, South Dakota, we have over 2900 employees and serve 1.2 million natural gas and electric utility customers across eight states (South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Arkansas).

Enjoy our Comprehensive Benefits Package: annual incentive program, 401(k) (6% company match and up to 9% company retirement contribution), tuition reimbursement, paid time off, additional Veteran PTO, military leave differential pay, paid holidays and annual floating holidays, company paid short term and long term disability, paid maternity and paternity benefits, health and wellness program, and competitive medical, dental and vision insurance.

Candidates must successfully pass a pre-employment drug screen and background check. 

Black Hills Energy does not sponsor applicants for work visas. All applicants must be legally authorized to work in the US.

EOE, Including disability/vets.

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Thinking of Relocating?

Rapid City, South Dakota
You'll find that it is the ideal community to live, work and do business in. With hiking trails, the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park in your backyard, there are endless opportunities to enjoy nature.

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