Minnesota Power and Great River Energy will host a series of open houses in late January and early February where members of the public can learn more about the companies’ joint Northland Reliability Project.
Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE Inc. (NYSE: ALE), and Great River Energy, a wholesale electric power cooperative, plan to build an approximately 150-mile, double-circuit 345-kV electric transmission line from northern Minnesota near Grand Rapids to central Minnesota near Becker that will support grid reliability in the Upper Midwest as existing power plants cease coal operation, more low-cost renewable energy is brought online, and utilities continue to see the need for enhanced resiliency during extreme weather events.
The transmission line will run from Minnesota Power’s Iron Range Substation in Itasca County to Great River Energy’s Benton County Substation in Benton County, and then replace an existing Great River Energy transmission line from the Benton County Substation to the Big Oaks Substation in Sherburne County. The Big Oaks Substation will be built as part of a separate project.
The open houses are an opportunity for the public to ask questions and provide valuable input to determine the best possible route for the project. Hearing from community members is an important part of the project’s extensive planning and routing process as Minnesota Power and Great River Energy narrow down alternatives to a specific route. Minnesota Power and Great River Energy will look for opportunities to follow existing utility corridors and use land already being used for power lines whenever it makes sense.
Open house schedule
Project displays and detailed maps will be available for review at the open houses that begin on Tuesday, Jan. 24. There will not be a formal presentation but project representatives will be available to answer questions. Open house attendees are welcome to come and go as their schedules allow.
Each location will have identical meetings from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 4-6 p.m.
- Tuesday, January 24, Pierz Ballroom, Pierz
- Wednesday, January 25, Sauk Rapids Government Center, Sauk Rapids
- Thursday, January 26, Pebble Creek Golf Course, Becker
- Monday, January 30, Timberlake Lodge, Grand Rapids
- Tuesday, January 31, Sprang Town Hall, Hill City
- Wednesday, February 1, Taconite Canteen, Ironton
- Thursday, February 2, Daggett Brook Town Hall, Brainerd
For people unable to attend one of the scheduled events, a virtual, self-guided open house will be available from Jan. 23 – Feb. 17, 2023, at northlandreliabilityproject.com. Individuals can also request a mailed informational packet by emailing email@example.com or leaving a message on the project hotline at (218) 864-6059.
Seeking Route Permit in late 2023
Minnesota Power and Great River Energy intend to seek a Certificate of Need and Route Permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) in late 2023. The MPUC will determine need and the final route and separately review cost recovery for Minnesota Power’s share of the project. Subject to regulatory approvals, the transmission line is estimated to be in service by 2030. This joint project is one in a portfolio of transmission projects approved July 25, 2022, by the region’s grid operator, MISO, as part of the first phase of its Long Range Transmission Plan. In total, MISO approved 18 projects across its Midwest subregion with six of them, including the Minnesota Power/Great River Energy project, in the Upper Midwest. For more information and a map of the Northland Reliability Project’s route corridor, visit northlandreliabilityproject.com.