Ensuring electric reliability in Minnesota and the
The last major upgrade of the region’s electric transmission
infrastructure took place 30 years ago. Since then, not only
has the population has grown, home sizes have nearly doubled,
and appliance and electronic device usage have increased exponentially.
The result: Energy usage has soared. In fact, in its Annual Energy
Outlook 2010, the U.S. Department of Energy projects electricity
consumption will increase 1 percent annually from 2008 to 2035,
despite energy conservation efforts.
For example, in 2007, the average household has 25 consumer
electronic products – computers, DVD players, video game
consoles, digital cameras and high-definition televisions. In
1975, the average household had less than two (Consumer Electronics
Association). Homes with central air have also more than doubled – jumping
from just 27 percent in 1983 to 66 percent in 2006 (2006 Xcel
Energy Minnesota Home Use Study). And, did you know: A 42-inch
plasma television uses two-and-a-half times more electricity
than a standard 27-inch tube TV.
The proposed CapX2020 transmission line projects would be built
in phases designed to meet this electricity growth as well as
to tap into vast wind energy resources in southern and western
Minnesota and the Dakotas.
CapX2020 is proposing to build three 345 kilovolt (kV) transmission lines,
one 230 kV line and associated substations. The Group 1 projects
- A 230-mile, 345 kV line between Brookings County, South
Dakota and Hampton, Minnesota
- A 210-mile, 345 kV line between Fargo, North Dakota and St.
- A 28-mile, 345 kV line between Monticello and St. Cloud,
150-mile, 345 kV line between Hampton and Rochester, continuing
to La Crosse, Wisconsin
- A 68-mile, 230 kV line between Bemidji
and Grand Rapids in north central Minnesota
The regulatory process for these lines is underway.
The CapX2020 utilities filed a Certificate
of Need application
in August 2007 with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
(MN PUC) for the three 345 kV projects. A separate Certificate
of Need application was filed with the MN PUC in March 2008 for
the 230 kV line. The MN PUC granted both applications in May
2009 and July 2009, respectively.
Route Permit applications have been filed with the MN PUC for
all four projects.
Permits and regulatory approval for the 345 kV projects is also
required from North and South Dakota and Wisconsin regulatory
commissions. Permits will be filed for each project in 2010.
The CapX2020 utilities are committed to working with all interested
parties. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the regulatory
process by both attending open houses and public meetings and
providing information to the state commissions and the CapX2020
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