Changing the Energy Landscape in the Midwest: CapX2020

It’s quite the accomplishment, and one that has changed the energy landscape of the Upper Midwest. As of Sept. 8, 2017, all of the CapX2020 transmission lines are up and running in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The accomplishment has entailed 13 years, a $2 billion investment, 800 miles of transmission, and 11 utility partners all working together.

An event was held in August in South Dakota to celebrate the final CapX2020 project going in-service. The Big Stone South-Brookings County transmission line is a 70-mile 345-kV line that runs between the new Big Stone South Substation near Big Stone City and the existing Brookings County Substation northeast of Brookings.

The 800 miles of CapX2020 transmission lines and substations have created a virtual renewable energy super highway in the Upper Midwest.

“If you build it, they will come,” said Teresa Mogensen, Xcel Energy’s Senior Vice President Transmission. “Transmission provides options. Without it, the new tax revenue generated by wind farms, the royalty payments to landowners and the new jobs don’t happen.”

The recently completed 70-mile CapX2020 Big Stone South to Brookings County 345 kV project has nine wind projects and one natural gas generation facility totaling over 2,000 MW of electricity requesting interconnection. The 600 MW Crowned Ridge wind project will be the largest in South Dakota and will result in tens of millions of dollars funneling into the state. There is another 10 projects totaling 1,900 MW of wind energy seeking to interconnect to the CapX2020 Brookings County, S.D. to Hampton, Minnesota, line. And the 240-mile Fargo to Monticello line is helping unlock and provide an outlet for thousands of MWs of wind generation being planned and built in North Dakota. CapX2020 is helping to provide low-cost clean energy to customers and communities across the Midwest.

“Major transmission lines, like the CapX2020 project, are helping to unlock the potential for a major build out of wind energy in the Midwest, while also offering important reliability benefits for customers” said Beth Soholt, executive director of Wind on the Wires.

Following is an overview of the entire CapX2020 project in pictures, courtesy of Xcel Energy/CapX2020.

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