CapX 2020 transmission line expansion gets MN approval

Plans to increase the capacity of a high-voltage power line running through Lincoln and Lyon County have gotten the go-ahead from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

Spokespeople for Xcel Energy said work to install a second electrical circuit on the existing CapX 2020 transmission line would start in June.

The project will make it possible to use more of the wind energy generated in southwest Minnesota, Xcel representatives said.

“This project will bring low-cost renewable energy to millions of homes and businesses, supporting Xcel Energy’s clean energy vision and Minnesota’s 2040 carbon-free law,” said Ryan Long, president of Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. “We thank the Commission and other parties for recognizing the value of this project, which uses existing infrastructure to decrease congestion on our transmission system while limiting the impact to landowners in the area.”

The PUC approved the installation of a second high-voltage circuit on two segments of the existing CapX 2020 transmission lines that run from Brookings County in South Dakota to Dakota County in Minnesota. One segment of new circuit will run between Brookings and Marshall, while the other will run between Scott and Dakota counties in Minnesota.

Xcel spokespeople said installation of the new circuits won’t require changes to the existing transmission line route. The portion of the CapX 2020 project affected by the project was originally built with the capacity to add a second electrical circuit.

Work to add the new circuit to existing lines will start next month, said said Xcel Energy spokesperson Kevin Coss. The first segment of the project will run approximately 60 miles from the Brookings County substation near White, South Dakota, to the Lyon County substation near Marshall. A second 39-mile circuit will run between the Helena substation in Scott County and the Hampton substation in Dakota County.

Construction for each segment will last several months, Xcel said. During those periods, crews will shut off the power along the segment of transmission line to protect workers installing the new wire. While that could possibly limit some wind energy production during construction, Xcel said the project will not cause outages for customers on the Upper Midwest energy system.

Work on the Brookings County – Marshall segment of the project should wrap up in late September, Coss said. The project as a whole would be completed in 2025, he said.


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