Minnesota Power seeks approval for Great Northern transmission line project

22 April 2014 (Last Updated April 22nd, 2014 18:30)

Minnesota Power has filed an application with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) seeking approval to construct the 500kV Great Northern transmission line from the US-Canada border to an electric substation on the Mesabi Iron Range.

Minnesota Power has filed an application with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) seeking approval to construct the 500kV Great Northern transmission line from the US-Canada border to an electric substation on the Mesabi Iron Range.

The company is also seeking approval for a presidential permit from the US Department of Energy for the international interconnection at the Minnesota-Manitoba border.

The proposed power line will bring emission-free hydroelectricity generated by Manitoba Hydro in Canada to the US.

Minnesota Power said the new transmission line will ease the delivery of at least 750MW of energy into the US beginning in 2020.

"The new transmission line would enable the company to store intermittent wind generation during times when energy markets don't need it."

The company will use the Great Northern power line to deliver to its service area 250MW from Manitoba Hydro through a power purchase agreement approved by the Minnesota PUC.

Minnesota Power COO Brad Oachs said the new transmission line would enable the company to store intermittent wind generation during times when energy markets don't need it.

"This is important to Minnesota Power as we expand our Bison wind project to 500MW in North Dakota by the end of this year," Oachs said.

The total cost of the project, including substation work, is estimated to be between $500m and $650m, depending on the final approved route.

In its applications filed with the MPUC and DOE, Minnesota Power explained that the proposed power line will require a 200ft wide right-of-way, with four or five structures a mile of about 100ft to 150ft in height.

The company also described two alternate routes for the project in its applications, both of which are approximately 220 miles.

The project will create 213 construction jobs and 73 indirect jobs. It is expected to begin in 2016 and be completed by 2020.

Nri