CapX2020 partners, state and local officials and renewable energy supporters were among those who gathered to celebrate the energizing of 90 miles of a new 345-kV transmission line in Wisconsin and Minnesota today. An event was held at the new Briggs Road Substation in Holmen, Wisconsin.
The newly completed transmission line segments energized Sept. 15 between Holmen, Wis., and Pine Island, Minn., include 50 miles of new transmission line in Wisconsin, 40 miles in Minnesota and two new substations. The entire CapX2020 Hampton-Rochester-La Crosse project, which also includes two 161-kV lines that feed Rochester and a 40-mile, 345-kV segment between Hampton and Pine Island, is expected to be complete in 2016.
“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 Chris Kunkle, a regional policy manager at Wind on the Wires. “By providing increased access to cost-effective wind power, CapX2020 will play a vital role in our region’s transition to a cleaner energy future.”
The project is part of the largest transmission expansion in the Upper Midwest in decades. The CapX2020 projects include a series of high voltage transmission lines that will provide reliable and affordable electric service to Wisconsin, Minnesota and the surrounding region, while also expanding access to renewable energy.
"As part of a coordinated expansion plan the Hampton-Rochester- La Crosse transmission project helps ensure reliability and provide access to low-cost generation across the region,” said Priti Patel, MISO regional executive. "Careful planning of the transmission system to ensure reliability, reduce congestion and increase transmission access is just one way MISO provides significant value to electric consumers across the region."
“Despite multiple challenges, including eagle nesting, a three -mile crossing of a wildlife management area and building a triple circuit transmission line over the Mississippi River, our project team built the 90 miles of line and two substation s on time and on budget. ” said Teresa Mogensen, senior vice president of transmission for Xcel Energy. “The new line will provide local reliability benefits to customers in La Crosse, Winona, Rochester and the surrounding area.”
”Our operations control center has already seen the reliability benefits of this new 345-kilovolt line segment in western Wisconsin as we plan and perform routine maintenance on the local delivery network,” said Ben Porath, vice president of power delivery for Dairyland Power Cooperative. “We are proud to own a share of this vital project that enhances the existing transmission network in western Wisconsin that was originally developed beginning in the 1950s.”
Several local contractors were used for the project. La Crosse based J.F. Brennan constructed foundations on the challenging Mississippi River crossing between Minnesota and Wisconsin, including using barges to shuttle workers and equipment to construction sites on an island and peninsula, pouring more than 3,200 cubic yards of concrete to construct 15 pile cap foundations. "Our employees were excited to take part in the CapX2020 project to bring more reliable power to western Wisconsin,” said Zach Pontzer, director civil group, J.F. Brennan. “ Working on the river was a daily challenge that required special collaboration with CapX2020 crews.”
The CapX2020 Hampton-Rochester-Lacrosse Project is jointly owned by Xcel Energy, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Rochester Public Utilities and WPPI Energy. When complete, the $500 million project will have constructed 150 miles of new transmission lines, three new substations and made modification at three existing substations.