Connecting power sources and end users
Minnesota Power has 8,742 miles of electric transmission and distribution lines with 164 substations. In 2009, Minnesota Power purchased a 465-mile direct current transmission line between Duluth, Minn., and Center, N.D., to transport renewable wind energy from its Bison Wind Energy Center in North Dakota.
For Minnesota Power and ALLETE, Minnesota Power’s parent company, investing in transmission is a cornerstone of their growth strategy. Those investments include:
HVDC Modernization Project
Minnesota Power plans to modernize and upgrade its existing High-Voltage Direct-Current (HVDC) Terminal, the eastern endpoint of a 465-mile direct-current transmission line from North Dakota. This project includes modernizing and upgrading the terminal with new technology to meet the need for safe and reliable energy today and into the future.
Northland Reliability Project
Minnesota Power and Great River Energy plan to build an approximately 150-mile, double-circuit 345-kV electric transmission line from northern Minnesota near Grand Rapids to central Minnesota near Becker. The Northland Reliability Project will support grid reliability in the Upper Midwest as existing power plants cease coal operations more renewable energy is brought online, and utilities continue to see the need for enhanced resiliency during extreme weather events.
This joint project is one in a portfolio of transmission projects approved in July 2022 by the region’s grid operator, MISO, as part of the first phase of its Long Range Transmission Plan.
Two Islands 115 KV Project
Minnesota Power, in partnership with Great River Energy, is replacing the existing Taconite Harbor Substation in Schroeder, Minnesota. Minnesota Power is constructing a new 115 kV switching station and Great River Energy is constructing an adjacent 115/69 kV substation. The Two Islands project, approximately 0.5 miles northwest of the existing Taconite Harbor Substation, will enhance reliability on Minnesota Power’s networked transmission system.
Duluth Loop Reliability Project
This project will enhance reliability by building an additional transmission source to communities in and around Duluth and along the North Shore. The project includes construction of a new 115 kilovolt (kV) transmission line between the Ridgeview and Hilltop substations, construction of an approximately one-mile extension of an existing 230kV transmission line connecting to the Arrowhead substation, and upgrades to the Ridgeview, Hilltop, and Arrowhead substations.
Great Northern Transmission Line
In April 2014, Minnesota Power applied to state and federal regulators for permits to build the 500-kilovolt Great Northern Transmission Line from the Minnesota-Manitoba border to an electric substation on the Mesabi Iron Range. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved a route permit for the transmission line in April 2016, and the U.S. Department of Energy approved a Presidential Permit for the international connection at the U.S.-Canadian border in November 2016.
Construction of the transmission line, an essential component of a long-term power purchase agreement between Minnesota Power and Manitoba Hydro, began in January 2017. The line was energized and began delivering hydropower in June 2020.
American Transmission Co.
ALLETE began investing in ATC in 2006 and the company’s investment in the Wisconsin-based public utility now represents an 8 percent ownership interest. ATC is the first multistate, transmission-only utility in the United States. It owns and operates transmission systems in portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois.
Minnesota Power is a participant in the CapX2020 initiative, a collaboration consisting of Minnesota’s largest transmission owners as well as electric cooperatives, municipals and investor-owned utilities.
Minnesota Power participated in two CapX2020 transmission line construction projects: the new 345-kilovolt Monticello-Fargo line, and a new 230-kilovolt line between Bemidji and the Boswell Energy Center near Grand Rapids, Minn. Our participation with CapX continues with operation and maintenance of the lines.
The Bemidji-Grand Rapids line was completed in September 2012, and the last segment of the Monticello-Fargo line was energized in April 2015.