ALLETE and North Plains Connector, a subsidiary of Grid United, have signed development agreements for the North Plains Connector project, an approximately 400-mile HVDC transmission line from central North Dakota to Colstrip, Montana.
The project will be a HVDC transmission connection between the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, the Western Interconnection and the Southwest Power Pool. It will also create 3,000 MW of transfer capacity across all three energy markets, easing congestion on the transmission system, increasing resiliency and reliability and enabling fast sharing of energy resources across a vast area with diverse weather patterns.
The project represents an approximately $3.2 billion investment in Montana and North Dakota. The North Dakota and Montana grid connection will help mitigate the impact of extreme weather events and accommodate the growing demand for electricity.
ALLETE expects to follow up to 35 percent ownership and will manage the line’s operation. The companies will work together on development activities and anticipate operational services by early 2029 depending on regulatory and other necessary approvals.
“Connecting regional energy markets through new HVDC transmission lines is a critical need as more energy sources are brought online,” said Grid United CEO, Michael Skelly. “This project will safeguard resilience and reliability across a wide area of the country by moving electricity from where it is generated to where it is needed.”