Canada-to-Iron Range power line proposed

  • Article by: DAVID SHAFFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 9, 2012 - 8:30 PM

Minnesota Power said Thursday that it plans to build a 350-mile transmission line from Winnipeg to bring hydropower to its customers in northern Minnesota.

The Duluth-based company, a division of Allete Inc., said it filed an intent to pursue the project with the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO), which manages the electrical grid in 11 states and Manitoba.

The project is tied to Minnesota Power's agreement to purchase 250 megawatts of hydropower from Winnipeg-based Manitoba Hydro beginning in 2020. The power from Manitoba hydroelectric dams will serve as a backup to intermittent wind power generated at Minnesota Power's wind farms in North Dakota.

Minnesota Power said the 500-kilovolt line would run south from Winnipeg and connect to a substation on the Mesabi Iron Range serving the taconite and paper industries.

Minnesota Power spokeswoman Amy Rutledge said the utility will consider building along existing transmission lines to reduce disruption. Xcel Energy Inc., based in Minneapolis, owns one transmission link to Canada, and Minnesota Power is sole or part owner of two others, she said.

Separately, Minnesota Power said it is evaluating with American Transmission Co. a proposed 50-mile, 345-kilovolt line from the Iron Range to Duluth. The cost and ownership shares of the projects have not been determined, the utility said.

David Shaffer • 612-673-7090

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