Photo 223878351 © Barbarag58 |

Xcel Energy Proposes New Transmission Line for Renewable Energy Boost in Southern Minnesota

April 10, 2024
Collaboration with energy providers aims to enhance reliability and cut carbon emissions.

Xcel Energy, in collaboration with Dairyland Power Cooperative, Rochester Public Utilities, and Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, is proposing a new transmission line in southern Minnesota. This initiative aims to facilitate the delivery of more affordable renewable energy to electric customers across the Upper Midwest, while simultaneously enhancing the overall reliability and resilience of the system during extreme weather.

The proposed infrastructure, which spans approximately 100 miles from Mankato to the Wisconsin border, will reduce transmission system congestion and assist regional energy providers in reducing carbon emissions.

The company recently submitted a joint certificate of need and route permit application with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for the construction of the transmission line. It will run from Mankato to the Mississippi River near Kellogg, integrating with the existing transmission network. Xcel Energy is spearheading the permitting and construction efforts, with the four energy providers collaborating on a section situated along the existing CapX2020 line near Pine Island, and an associated 161 kV line that will be relocated as part of the proposal.

“This project allows us to bring low-cost, renewable wind and solar energy to millions of homes and businesses. It represents an investment of more than $500 million in new energy infrastructure in Minnesota, and it will create good-paying jobs,” said Ryan Long, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. “As we lead the clean energy transition, our energy system is shifting from large, centrally located power plants to more dispersed renewable generation. This new transmission line will help us deliver energy from where it’s generated to where it’s needed.”

These transmission projects, including others in development across the region, play a vital role in ensuring reliable electricity provision while maintaining affordability. Identified by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), this project aligns with several regional initiatives aimed at delivering economic benefits, enhancing regional reliability, and facilitating access to low-cost renewable energy.

Given that wind and solar energy incur no fuel costs and contribute to diversifying the energy mix, they safeguard against escalating fuel prices and provide cost savings for customers. Furthermore, the project aligns with Xcel Energy’s vision of achieving 100% carbon-free electricity in Minnesota by 2040, in line with the state’s clean energy standards.

Throughout the past year, Xcel Energy has engaged in collaborative efforts with tribal and local governments, landowners, and other stakeholders across the project area. Feedback obtained from virtual and in-person open houses, along with over 300 comments, has informed the proposed route options, prioritizing routes with the least impact.

The proposed 345 kV transmission line will extend from a substation in Mankato to one near Pine Island, connecting to infrastructure in western Wisconsin. Additionally, the project encompasses a new approximately 20-mile 161 kV transmission line from near Pine Island to Rochester.

The Public Utilities Commission will examine the proposal over the next 12-18 months, providing opportunities for input from customers, landowners, and other stakeholders. Once approved, the construction is expected to start in late 2026 or early 2027, with the project set to be completed by 2030.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of T&D World, create an account today!