Certificate of Need Application for the Great Northern Transmission Line
Minnesota Power is proposing to construct a high voltage transmission line from the Manitoba-Minnesota Border to Hermantown, Minnesota with an anticipated in-service date of mid-2020 (the “Great Northern Transmission Line”). The Great Northern Transmission Line (“Project”) includes a 500 kV transmission line approximately 225 to 300 miles long between the border and the Blackberry Substation in Itasca County, and a 345 kV transmission line approximately 50 to 70 miles long between the Blackberry Substation and the Arrowhead Substation in Hermantown.
Minnesota Power needs this line to deliver at least 250 MW of power by June 1, 2020, under a Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”) approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (“Commission”) in Docket No. E015/M-11-938. In addition to the PPA, several other needs are driving the proposed Project including access to clean, renewable energy for Minnesota Power and the region, increased industrial load growth on the Iron Range, and strengthening regional reliability.
The Great Northern Transmission Line will require both a Certificate of Need and a Route Permit from the Commission. In the Certificate of Need proceeding, the Commission will analyze whether Minnesota Power has proposed the most appropriate size, type, and timing for the Great Northern Transmission Line. The Certificate of Need application can be obtained by visiting the Commission’s website at www.puc.state.mn.us in Docket No. E015/CN-12-1163. Information on the Route Permit application can be obtained by visiting the Commission’s website in Docket No. E015/TL-14-___.
At this time, there is not a specific route within the Notice Area that Minnesota Power has identified as its preferred route. The route for the Great Northern Transmission Line preferred by Minnesota Power will be identified in the Route Permit application. Selection of a final route will be made by the Commission during the Route Permit proceedings based on input from stakeholders.
To construct a transmission line across the international border between Manitoba and Minnesota, Minnesota Power will also need to obtain a Presidential Permit from the United States Department of Energy. Certain environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act will be completed by the federal agency prior to issuance of a Presidential Permit. More information on Presidential Permits can be obtained by visiting http://energy.gov/oe/services/electricity-policy-coordination-and-implementation/international-electricity-regulation.
Minnesota Power anticipates that the right-of-way for the 500 kV portion of the Project will be 200 feet and for the 345 kV portion of the Project will be 150-feet. Before beginning construction Minnesota Power will acquire property rights for the right-of-way or access, typically through an easement that will be negotiated with the landowner for each parcel.
To subscribe to the Great Northern Transmission Line Project Certificate of Need docket and receive email notifications when information is filed that is related to the Certificate of Need for the Project, please visit www.puc.state.mn.us, click on the “Subscribe to a Docket” button, enter your email address and select “Docket Number” from the Type of Subscription dropdown box, then select “12” from the first Docket Number dropdown box and enter “1163” in the second box before clicking on the “Add to List” button. You must then click the “Save” button at the bottom of the page to confirm your subscription to the Project Docket. These same steps can be followed to subscribe to the Project Route Permit docket (E015/TL-14-____).
Please visit greatnortherntransmissionline.com for more information on the Project. If you have questions about the process, you may contact the Minnesota regulatory staff listed below:
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
121 7th Place East, Suite 350
St. Paul, Minnesota 55101
Minnesota Department of Commerce
Bill Storm, State Permit Manager
85 7th Place East, Suite 500
St. Paul, Minnesota 55101
If you would like to have your name added to the Project Route Permit mailing list (MPUC Docket E015/TL-14-___), you may register by visiting the Department of Commerce webpage at mn.gov/commerce/energyfacilities, clicking on the “Transmission Lines” tab, selecting “Great Northern Transmission Line Project” from the listed projects, and then clicking the links next to the “Mailing List” heading. Alternately, you may contact Department of Commerce staff at the address above. Please be aware that the Great Northern Transmission Line Project Route Permit mailing list may not be available for online registration until the Route Permit application is submitted.
A separate service list is maintained for the Certificate of Need proceeding. To be placed on the Project Certificate of Need mailing list (MPUC Docket E015/CN-12-1163), mail, fax, or email Robin Benson at Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, 121 7th Place E., Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55101-2147, Fax: 651-297-7073 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions may also be directed to:
30 West Superior Street
Duluth, MN 55802
(August 7, 2013)