Xcel Energy is proposing a major transmission line running from Lyon County in Southwestern Minnesota to a site in Sherburne County about halfway between St. Cloud and the Twin Cities. The line will carry energy produced from new wind turbine facilities in the southwestern part of the state to an existing transmission interconnection owned by Xcel.
The existing site, located in Becker, is currently home to the Sherburne County Generation Station, or Sherco. For nearly half a century, Sherco housed coal-fired electric power plants that are being retired as part of Xcel’s shift to carbon-free electricity.
The current proposed route is below as explained in Xcel’s application:
After an extensive route development process that studied and analyzed numerous potential routes and route segments, the Applicant identified two potential routes for the Project to be included in this Application. These proposed routes, the “Purple Route” and the “Blue Route” traverse Sherburne,
Stearns, Kandiyohi, Wright, Meeker, Chippewa, Yellow Medicine, Renville, Redwood, and Lyon counties. The length of the Project will be approximately 171 or 174 miles, depending on which route is selected by the Commission.
• Green Segment: Adding a second circuit to the existing single circuit 345 kV gen-tie (Line 5651) that connects the existing Sherco Substation to the existing Sherco Solar West Substation. The Green Segment is approximately 3.1 miles long, and no additional right-of-way will be needed.
• Purple or Blue Route: A new double circuit 345 kV transmission line from Xcel Energy’s existing Sherco Solar West Substation located just outside of Becker in Sherburne County, to a new substation near the Town of Garvin in Lyon County.
• Existing Substation Modifications: Modifications to the existing Sherco Substation and Sherco Solar West Substation to accommodate the new 345 kV transmission lines.
• Voltage Support Substation: A new substation approximately 80 miles along the Purple or Blue Routes south of the Sherco Solar West Substation.
• Intermediate Substation: A new substation approximately 20 miles north of the Terminal Substation.
• Terminal Substation: A new substation as the terminus of the Project in Lyon County near the Town of Garvin.
Per Xcel’s route application:
Once the Commission finds the Application complete, notice of an environmental impact statement (EIS) scoping meeting will be provided to landowners, other stakeholders in the Project area and those on the Project Contact List. Interested parties may sign up for the Project Contact List by contacting the Commission at [email protected] or 651.201.2204 (1.800.657.3782).
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) is currently accepting comments on whether Xcel’s application is complete. Comments on this phase of the process are due by November 20, 2023.