Minnesota Power’s Great Northern Transmission Line reaches Major Milestone
The U.S. Department of Energy and the Minnesota Department of Commerce has issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Great Northern Transmission Line.
Minnesota Power says the statement concludes the successful review of the project’s environmental impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act.
The Department of Energy proposed the project be issued a Presidential Permit. The permit would authorize Minnesota Power to construct, operate and maintain the Great Northern Transmission Line.
The Great Northern Transmission line will be a 500-kilovolt, 220 mile line running from the Canadian border northwest of Roseau, Minnesota, to an expanded Blackberry electric substation east of Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
The power line will be used to deliver hydro power from Canada to Minnesota Power customers in the United States.
The line is crucial to Minnesota Power’s EnergyForward strategy to reduce carbon emissions and maintain a balance of one-third renewable, one-third coal and one-third natural gas.
Minnesota Power is awaiting a decision by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on the issuance of a route permit. That decision is expected in early 2016.
On the Canadian side of the project, in September, Manitoba Hydro filed paperwork with provincial regulators to secure a license for the transmission line in Manitoba.
Minnesota Power Chief Operating Officer Bill Oachs says the company is “extremely satisfied that, after almost two years of comprehensive agency review and many years of voluntary stakeholder engagement by Minnesota Power, The Department of Energy and Minnesota Department of Commerce have released the Final Environmental Impact Statement.”
Oachs says the release is an important step as Minnesota Power plans for a sizable new capital investment in Upper Midwest transmission that carries economic, reliability and renewable energy benefits.