500 kV Transmission Line and Substation
Minnesota Power, a division of ALLETE, provides electricity in a 26,000-square-mile electric service area in northeastern Minnesota. Minnesota Power supplies retail electric service to 145,000 customers and wholesale electric service to 16 municipalities.
The Great Northern Transmission Line will carry hydropower from Manitoba Hydro to Minnesota Power’s customers. The Manitoba Hydro purchase provides Minnesota Power’s customers and the upper midwest access to a reasonably priced, predominantly emission-free energy supply that has a combination of base load supply characteristics, price certainty and resource optimization flexibility not available in comparable alternatives for meeting customer requirements.
The Great Northern Transmission Line consists of a 500 kV transmission line from the Minnesota-Manitoba border to the Blackberry 500 kV Substation near Grand Rapids, Minnesota, as well as associated substation facilities and transmission system modifications.
The project schedule was driven by state and federal regulatory requirements and a required June 2020 in-service date. Steps included:
- Identify opportunities & constraints
- Routing and siting
- Obtain environmental permits
- Engineering and design
Major Regulatory Milestones
- US Department of Energy — Presidential Permit: November 15, 2016
- US Army Corps of Engineers — Section 404 Permit: December 7, 2016
- US Fish and Wildlife Service — ROW Permit: January 17, 2017
- Minnesota Public Utilities Commission — Certificate of Need: June 30, 2015
- Minnesota Public Utilities Commission — Route Permit: April 11, 2016
- Minnesota DNR License to Cross Public Lands and Waters: ongoing