Business North: Great Northern transmission line receives final permit
Minnesota Power's Great Northern Transmission Line received federal approval Wednesday when the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a Presidential Permit allowing the transmission line to cross the international border between the United States and Canada.
Lines in Minnesota will carry clean electricity generated by Manitoba Hydro. The Presidential Permit approval is the final step in a four-year regulatory process.
“The Great Northern Transmission Line is a crucial link in Minnesota Power’s EnergyForward strategy of balancing renewable and traditional energy sources,” said Al Hodnik, chairman, president and CEO of ALLETE Inc., Minnesota Power’s parent firm. “DOE’s issuance of this permit is the latest example of how we’re answering the nation’s call to transform its energy landscape,” he said in a news release.
Construction is expected to begin in early 2017 on the 500-kilovolt line that will deliver 383 megawatts of renewable hydropower purchased from Manitoba Hydro to Minnesota Power’s customers beginning in 2020. The project is a key component of Minnesota Power's EnergyForward strategy to reduce carbon emissions and ensure reliability and affordable rates while achieving a balanced energy mix of one-third renewable energy, one-third natural gas and one-third coal.
“I am very pleased the project's final stage of review has crossed over the finish line, just in time for the winter construction season,” said U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan. “The Great Northern Transmission Line enjoys broad stakeholder support, including local tribes, and has positive energy security and environmental implications for northeastern Minnesota, the nation, and North America.”
The 224-mile route will cross the border about three miles east of Minnesota Highway 89. The line will run to an expanded Blackberry electric substation east of Grand Rapids. The route passes through Roseau, Lake of the Woods, and Koochiching and Itasca counties.
Minnesota Power estimates the total cost of the project will be between $300 million and $350 million.