State schedules power line meetings this week in region
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Commerce will provide information to the public this week on a proposal by seven utilities to construct two transmission lines between the Big Stone substation in South Dakota and different termination poin...
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Department of Commerce will provide information to the public this week on a proposal by seven utilities to construct two transmission lines between the Big Stone substation in South Dakota and different termination points in Minnesota.
The department will present information on the project and the scope of an environmental impact statement at meetings Tuesday through Thursday in Benson, Morris, Ortonville, Canby and Granite Falls.
The schedule is as follows:
Benson -- 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at D S Lageson's, with short presentation at 5:30 p.m.
Morris -- Noon-3 p.m. Wednesday at the Prairie Inn, with short presentation at 12:30 p.m.
Ortonville -- 4-7 p.m. Wednesday at Matador Supper Club, with short presentation at 5:30 p.m.
Canby -- Noon-3 p.m. Thursday at Council Chambers, with short presentation at 12:30 p.m.
Granite Falls -- 4-7 p.m. Thursday at Minnesota West College, with a short presentation at 5:30 p.m.
Seven utilities have submitted an application for a certificate of need and an application for a route permit to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for two high-voltage transmission lines.
The applicants are Otter Tail Power Company, Great River Energy, Central Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, Heartland Consumers Power District, Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency and Western Minnesota Municipal Power Agency.
The applicants say the power lines are needed to provide an outlet for power to be generated at the proposed 600-megawatt power unit to be built at the Big Stone Power Plant in South Dakota and to increase transmission capacity and improve reliability in the Buffalo Ridge area in Minnesota and South Dakota.
One transmission line would run about 48 miles -- 43 of which would be in Minnesota -- from the Big Stone substation to the Morris substation near Morris. The line would be constructed to 230 kilovolts.
The other would run about 90 miles -- 54 of which are in Minnesota -- from the Big Stone substation to the Granite Falls substation in Granite Falls. The line would be constructed to 345 kilovolts but would operate initially at 230 kilovolts.
Modification of several substations and transmission facilities are proposed.
The applicants have proposed an alternative to the Morris line -- an 80-mile, 230-kilovolt line to the Willmar substation.
The applicants have proposed a preferred route for each line and at least one alternative route. Two different border crossings have been identified for the Granite Falls line.
On Oct. 3, 2005, the applicants applied to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for a certificate of need for the new transmission lines. On Nov. 10, the commission consolidated the certificate of need proceeding with the upcoming route permit proceeding. The applicants submitted the route permit application on Dec. 9.
The Public Utilities Commission has authority over routing of the lines. Also, the Department of Commerce is responsible for reviewing the environmental effects of the lines, according to a Department of Commerce public notice.
By law, the commission has one year from Nov. 4, 2005, to make a decision on the certificate of need and one year from Dec. 20, 2005, to decide on the route permit.
Comments and questions
The public is welcome at the meetings to ask questions and propose other possible power line routes.
The Department of Commerce will accept written comments on the project until Feb. 13. Written comments should be mailed to: Sharon Ferguson, Docket Manager, 85 7th Place E., Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55101-2198.
Copies of the certificate of need and route permit application are available at public libraries in Benson, Granite Falls, Morris, Willmar, Canby, Madison and Ortonville.
More information is available at:
Inquiries may be directed to:
David Birkholz, project manager, (651) 296-2096 or firstname.lastname@example.org ; or Deborah Pile, public adviser, (651) 297-2375 or
-- David Little