Regulators Approve Line to Import Renewable EnergyEngineering360 News Desk | May 20, 2015
Minnesota Power has cleared a regulatory hurdle for a proposed northern Minnesota transmission line whose price tag could reach $710 million, reports the Minnesota Star Tribune.
The Great Northern Transmission Line would run about 220 miles on a route yet to be chosen from the Canadian border north of Roseau, Minn., to a substation east of Grand Rapids. It is part of Minnesota Power’s plan, known as Energy Forward, to replace some coal-generated electricity with hydropower imported from Canada.
Manitoba Hydro, a Winnipeg-based utility that operates 15 hydropower stations and already sells electricity to other Minnesota utilities, will pay 72% of the transmission project’s capital costs and own 49% of the line—a stake it intends to sell to another utility. Minnesota Power is responsible for 28% of the cost and would own 51% of the line.
Several routes are under review. Construction is expected to take four years, putting the line in service in June 2020. The 500 kilovolt line—one of the largest capacity lines in the state—would carry more power than Minnesota Power needs, opening the door for Manitoba Hydro to sell electric power to other utilities.
As part of the deal, Manitoba Hydro reportedly has agreed to buy wind power from Minnesota Power when that utility does not need all the output of its wind farms. At such times, Manitoba Hydro would cut its hydro output.